Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Driverless Cars Will Be on UK Roads By January 2015


The UK government today announced that driverless cars will be able to get on the country’s roads as early as January 2015, less than half a year from now. It’s the latest push to attract research and development over to British shores—something the UK has been trying to lay a claim on since at least last year.

The announcement by business secretary Vince Cable follows chancellor George Osborne’s promise of a £10 million ($17 million) prize to fund a testing ground for autonomous cars. Now, R&D projects can bid for that, with up to three cities set to get a share of the pot. 

These schemes will see the first driverless cars on public roads; regular passengers (driverless drivers?) won’t be zipping up and down the motorways in dorky little self-driving pods just yet. It’s an open competition, and projects that want to be considered have to include a business partner and local authority partner, with a registration deadline of September 24. 

“This competition for funding has the potential to establish the UK as the global hub for the development and testing of driverless vehicles in real-world urban environments, helping to deepen our understanding of the impact on road users and wider society,” said Iain Gray, CEO of the Technology Strategy Board, in a statement.

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