UK Cities Gear Up to Welcome Driverless Cars

August 1, 2014, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Living in one of those many cities in the UK? Then don’t get freaked out if you witness a running car with no driver. That may be just the trials of what is to come in a few years!

British officials have announced their intention to commence efforts for bringing out driverless cars to the cities of the United Kingdom. The test run for the cars is set to begin this January in three cities, which will be zeroed in by way of bids.

Transport minister Claire Perry explained the intentions while speaking at MIRA, centre for vehicle engineering consultancy, test and researches stating that driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network  in terms of enhancing safety, snipping congestion and lowering emissions, particularly CO2.

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Perry, who also tested a driverless car at the facility, has been quoted as saying that the UK would want to ensure that driverless cars can fulfill this potential. He attributed the country’s review of regulatory hassles to creating the right framework for trialing these vehicles on British roads.

The driverless cars competition across the three cities is being funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport, in partnership with the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

Cities across the UK could place bids for holding the rights to take self-automotive cars to the public roads before October 1. Three cities would be designated as locations for the test, starting in January 2015, and would share a hefty amount of 10 million pounds.

The Technology Strategy Board CEO Iain Gray has been heard saying that the 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. This he thinks would help understand of the impact on road users and wider society.

Testing the driverless cars and using the nation’s strengths in transport technologies and urban planning are seen as capable of pushing new investments, establishing fresh design and manufacturing supply chains, and in turn driving the UK’s economic leap.

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The US has already seen self-steered vehicles on its roads  as part of testing. The four states of Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan, along with the District of Columbia have also enacted legislations addressing autonomous vehicles.

You might already know that the driver-free project has Google Self-Driving Car as pioneer. A modified Toyota Prius by Google had some time ago displayed a successful ride along the streets of California.

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