The UK government recently announced that autonomous cars will be allowed on public roads from January 2015. The announcement came from Vince Cable, Business Secretary for the Department of Transport, as he visited the Mira research facility in the Midlands.
Due to driverless cars being autonomous and therefore driving themselves strict road laws and insurance issues have always been enforced, removing them from public roads. The new plan will allow driverless cars to test on public roads amongst other road users.
Speaking about the new regulations Vince Cable said the following –
"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,"
Also being published is a review of road regulations that will cover the need for driverless vehicles to comply with safety and traffic laws. There will also be changes to the Highway Code that will affect England, Scotland and Wales.
The UK government have invited cities to compete to host one of three, 18-36 month, autonomous vehicle trials. The winning cities will each get a proportion of a new £10m fund that has been created to cover the trial costs.
Various other countries have already been trialling such vehicles. In the US; California, Nevada and Florida have all been supporting autonomous vehicle testing, with the Google driverless car racking up over 300,000 miles on public roads.