Companies have been given the green light for testing driverless cars in the UK next year.
The decision was announced by government quango Innovate UK, after George Osbourne’s Autumn Statement. Bristol, Greenwich in south east London and Coventry and Milton Keynes will all host autonomous driving projects that will run for between 18 and 36 months starting from January 2015.
It is hoped that testing driverless cars in a real-world environment will help lead to greater levels of understanding of the vehicles and will allow the public to imagine how the cars could fit into everyday life.
Milton Keynes and Coventry will share the UK Autodrive programme, which involves Ford, Jaguar Land Rover as well as a number of universities and engineering consultancies. They will test self-driving cars on real roads as well as lightweight self-driving pods designed for pedestrianised areas in Milton Keynes.
One of the focuses of the trial will be developing infrastructure to best interact with the cars. Tim Armitage, of engineering consultancy, Arup, told the BBC: ‘Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads.’
In Greenwich, the Gateway project will test automated electric shuttles buses, plus robotic valet parking for driverless cars. The scheme involves General Motors, the AA and RAC. Finally, experts in Bristol will investigate the insurance implications of driverless vehicles and study the public’s response to the technology… see more
source: Dailymail UK