A project to test driverless vehicles is being launched today in the hope the UK will become a leading global supplier.
A shuttle is being tried out in the London borough of Greenwich and an electric pod will be used on closed roads and pedestrian areas in Milton Keynes and Coventry.
Vehicles trialled in Bristol will also help gauge public reaction to the cars and assess legal and insurance issues.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK is at the cutting edge of automotive technology – from the all-electric cars built in Sunderland to the Formula One expertise in the Midlands.
“It’s important for jobs, growth and society that we keep at the forefront of innovation, that’s why I launched a competition to research and develop driverless cars.
“The projects we are now funding will help to ensure we are world leaders in this field and able to benefit from what is expected to be a £900bn industry by 2025.”
The Government says there are no legal barriers to the testing of automated vehicles on public roads.
Dr Nick Reed from the Transport Research Lab, which is running the Greenwich trials, said the shuttles use sensors to avoid hazards.
“Safety is paramount in our research and the vehicle is detecting moving objects around it, and if pedestrians are moving into its path it will slow down, and if they continue into its path it will come to a safe stop ahead of the pedestrian,” he said… see more