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Driverless cars could be trialled in cities from 2015

31 July 2014

The UK Department for Transport has announced two new measures that give the green light for driverless cars to take to UK roads from January 2015.

UK cities can now bid for a share of a £10 million competition to host a driverless cars trial. The government is calling on cities to join together with businesses and research organisations to put forward proposals to become a test location.

Up to 3 cities will be selected to host the trials from next year (2015) – and each project is expected to last between 18 and 36 months and start in January 2015.

Ministers have also launched a review to look at current road regulations to establish how the UK can remain at the forefront of driverless car technology and ensure there is an appropriate regime for testing driverless cars in the UK.

Two areas of driverless technology will be covered in the review: cars with a qualified driver who can take over control of the driverless car and fully autonomous vehicles where there is no driver.

Insurers’ research centre, Thatcham Research warns that although fully driverless cars are an exciting glimpse of the future with substantial potential to improve road safety – the UK’s car fleet has a long way to go before it makes the most of existing autonomous technology already tested, proven and readily available. 

Thatcham believes that  AEB and other ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) have a critical role to play in safer roads for the future although fully driverless cars may take a while longer to gain widespread acceptance.