Driverless cars on UK roads in ’15

July 31, 2014

 The Times of India (Delhi)



Govt Announces £10m Fund For Researchers Working On Project


The UK government on Wednesday gave the green light for driverless cars to roll out on public roads for testing from next year. Business secretary Vince Cable announced a £10 million fund for driverless car researchers.“The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as a pioneer in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects,” he said. “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology.” Three cities will be selected to host driverless car trials, with each test to last between 18 and 36 months starting 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 such cars in the country. Two areas of driverless technology will be covered in the review: cars with a qualified driver who can take over control of the driverless vehicle and fully autonomous vehicles where there is no driver. “Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network -they could improve safety , reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2,“ said transport minister Claire Perry . “We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfil this potential.“ Science minister Greg Clark said UK was brilliantly placed to lead the world in driverless technology . “It combines our strengths in cars, satellites, big data and urban design,“ said Clark.

Currently , autonomous vehicles are only allowed on private roads, with the change in laws bringing UK in line with countries such as Japan, Singapore and Germany . In America, driverless cars have been tested on public roads for months, with Google’s driverless cars racking up more than 300,000 miles in California alone.

Scientists from Oxford University are in advanced stages of testing the first driverless car on UK roads. The vehicle, a modified BAE Wildcat military jeep, will be programmed with a three-dimensional map of routes around Oxford. The robotic car uses a series of sensors, including cameras and lasers, to calculate its exact location. It can sense the presence of other vehicles on the road and take avoiding action if necessary , something that driverless cars equipped with GPS-based technology have been unable to do.

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