The DfT has developed the world’s first code of practice which paves the way for driverless cars to be tested in towns and cities around the UK, including Greenwich in south-east London, Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes, according to the Telegraph.
The code of practice has been developed by the DfT in consultation with the government-backed UK Autodrive Consortium, which includes Ford, Jaguar, Tata and Innovate UK. The first autonomous vehicles are likely to be tested on the roads in late 2017.
The Telegraph says the code also covers driverless public transport networks, including autonomous ‘pods’ which can travel on pavements, and driverless buses.
Tim Armitage, project leader for the Autodrive Consortium, told the Telegraph: "We’re coordinating the trials technically and working with government to ensure that the legislation keeps pace with what the technologies need to do in order to facilitate this brave new world.
"One of the things we will be doing is undertaking some acceptance surveys globally and in the UK to gauge public opinion around driverless technologies, and we’ll monitor how that changes over the three years of our project."
The new code of practice states that a minimum of 30 seconds of data must always be available so the cause of any accident can be determined.
The ‘M1’ driverless vehicles must also have a manual driver in the vehicle who can take over if the autonomous system fails.
And if there is an accident, in the case of the M1 vehicle the liability lies with the driver, whereas in the case of the driverless pods it lies with the remote controller of the vehicle.