The Government has announced two new measures which give the green light for driverless cars to take to UK roads from January 2015.
UK cities can now bid for a share of a £10m competition to host a driverless cars trial. The Government is calling on cities to join together with businesses and research organisations to put forward proposals to become a test location.
Up to three cities will be selected to host the trials which will start in January 2015 and run for between 18 and 36 months.
Ministers have also launched a review to look at current road regulations and ensure there is an appropriate regime for testing driverless cars.
Two areas of driverless technology will be covered in the review: cars with a qualified driver who can take over control of the driverless car, and fully autonomous vehicles where there is no driver.
Speaking at MIRA – the vehicle engineering consultancy, test and research facility – Vince Cable, business secretary, said: “The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as a pioneer in the development of driverless vehicles.
“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 and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”
Claire Perry, transport minister, said: “Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network – they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions.
“We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfill this potential which is why we are actively reviewing regulatory obstacles to create the right framework for trialling these vehicles on British roads.”
The driverless cars’ competition is being funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the DfT, in partnership with the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. The deadline for applications for the competition is 1 October 2014.
Successful projects will need to be “business-led and demonstrate close collaboration with partners such as technology developers, supply chain companies and manufacturers”.