Britain will Kick Off Self-driving Car Tests on Motorways from 2017

Having set 2020 as the target to bring autonomous vehicles on its streets, Britain has said that it will start testing driverless cars on motorways as early as next year. Last year, those at the helm of bringing driverless vehicles on Britain’s streets said that as of now, there was nothing to legally stop autonomous driving technology from being tested on the country’s roads. The government gave a green signal to begin trials of driverless vehicles on select local roads.

According to sources, the country’s finance minister, George Osborne, is expected to make an official announcement detailing plans of how driverless vehicles will be tested on the country’s motorways. Moreover, the Treasury added that the country’s government is also working to launch proposals that will help ease regulations to bring such vehicles on the streets.

While there is much buzz surrounding this move, the focus will firmly continue to remain on safety. The trials will be conducted mainly to ascertain how safe autonomous vehicles are on the country’s motorways.

If the trials yield the desired results, driverless vehicles could soon be available for sale in the UK in the next couple of years. The government expects that this will provide a boost to employment generation in the country, besides helping improve productivity.

The country’s government pegs the worth of the global autonomous driving market at over US$1.29 trillion or GBP 900 billion. However, legal obstacles are the biggest challenge that stand in the way of this market’s growth. Key issues such as determining who will bear responsibility in the event of an accident have been at the center of an ongoing debate in various countries who are on the verge of allowing self-driving vehicles on their roads.

When Britain begins testing driverless cars, it will mandate that such tests are conducted in the presence of an able person who can take control of the vehicle if required. In the meanwhile, in the United States, the country’s safety agency said that it foresaw several legal hurdles before allowing driverless vehicles without gas pedals and steering wheels to hit the roads.


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