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Driverless cars will carry passengers on UK roads for the first time, a government-backed consortium has announced.

British start-up FiveAI is leading the project that sees driverless vehicles travelling through the London boroughs of Croydon and Bromley.

The trail, while not open to the general public, involves volunteers riding as passengers in the cars. A human driver is also in place to take over if needed.

The emphasis of the testing is to see how passengers respond to communiting in a driverless car, as FiveAI claims “self-driving services could offer citizens a safer, greener, more convenient and increasingly affordable alternative to the urban commuter car”.

Streetwise, a consortium which includes car insurance provider Direct Line Group, is running the trail.

Stan Boland, co-founder and CEO of FiveAI, said: “Shared, self-driving vehicle services promise a better way for people to get around. We’ll be working with forward-thinking partners to make these services a reality in European urban environments. The lessons learned through StreetWise provide an important step towards that goal.”

UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “The untapped potential of self-driving vehicle technology is huge — it could enhance road safety, tackle isolation, and create economic opportunities. The Government’s Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy sets out how it is planning for the introduction of self-driving vehicles, and Street​Wise’s successful trial ​will be a major step to rolling out the next phase of the UK’s transport revolution.”

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October 24, 2019

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