Autonomous cars could arrive on UK roads as soon as January, the government has said. Initially slated for a debut appearance on public roads by the end of 2013, driverless cars are now set to appear in early 2015.
Three trials of driverless cars will take place on public roads with the government inviting cities to compete for access to a £10m fund to cover their costs. Ministers have also been ordered to look into changes to the Highway Code by the end of the year.
Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months.
Appearing at research facility Mira in the Midlands, Business Secretary Vince Cable told the BBC: “Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society”.
A large number of autonomous car tests have taken place around the globe. US states California, Nevada and Florida have carried out many tests with a driverless car created by Google covering more than 300,000 miles on public roads in California so far. Tests have also taken place on Japanese roads and Swedish road testing is scheduled for 2017.
UK drivers aren’t completely convinced by autonomous cars yet though. Research by Churchill Car Insurance discovered that 56 per cent of adults would not buy a driverless car. A quarter also have concerns over the safety of self-driving cars and the threat of hacking was another issue raised.