It is safe to test and eventually mass produce driverless cars for UK roads, a major review into the technology’s feasibility concluded this morning.
The Department for Transport has published a report into the regulations necessary to keep drivers and pedestrians safe as driverless car technologies develop, as well as an action plan to make sure the UK is at the forefront of research and development in the field.
Transport minister Claire Perry said: “Driverless cars are the future. I want Britain to be at the forefront of this exciting new development, to embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment.
“These are still early days but today is an important step. The trials present a fantastic opportunity for this country to take a lead internationally in the development of this new technology."
The report was published as the first fully autonomous Meridian shuttle was unveiled by Claire Perry, Greenwich this morning, as well as a driverless pod prototype to be piloted in Milton Keynes this year.
Greenwich is home to one of the projects benefiting from £19 million government funding for driverless cars trials. Along with Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry, the Greenwich project is using expertise from Oxford University in partnership with Nissan.
Business secretary Vince Cable, who attended the unveiling this morning, said: “The UK is at the cutting edge of automotive technology - from the all-electric cars built in Sunderland, to the formula 1 expertise in the Midlands.
"It’s important for jobs, growth and society that we keep at the forefront of innovation, that’s why I launched a competition to research and develop driverless cars. The projects we are now funding in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry will help to ensure we are world-leaders in this field and able to benefit from what is expected to be a £900 billion industry by 2025.
“The government’s industrial strategy is backing the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength, we are giving business the confidence to invest over the long term and developing cutting-edge technology that will create high skilled jobs."
The pilot is intended to gauge public perception.