UK science minister David Willetts has told the Daily Mail that the government is considering changes to road usage policies to reflect the emergence of driverless cars.
Willetts told the paper that discussions about how to deal with brakeless, steering wheel less cars are taking place, following similar developments in the US as authorities respond to the implications of Google's driverless car trials and similar projects in the UK.
"You need a regulatory regime so that these [cars] are permitted," he told the paper. "What America is going to have is a legal regime in California that permits you to travel in one without requiring someone in the so-called driver's seat. Certainly there are new regulations being drafted in California and obviously this is something I have discussed with the Department for Transport, we are aware of it."
The Department for Transport (DfT) told V3 it has backed a £10m prize fund for towns and cities that want to try out driverless cars, and should be in a position to reveal the location of trials later this year.
"Driverless cars have the potential to transform our roads and create opportunities for UK companies to develop new technology and create economic growth. We need to ensure their use on UK roads is safe and that the wider public benefit," said a DfT spokesman.
"That is why we are working with Oxford University, who are trialling this technology, and why we have launched a £10m prize fund for a town or city to develop as a test site for driverless cars. We are reviewing current regulations in relation to this technology and a report is due at the end of this year."
Earlier this year, the DfT softened its opposition to drivers using Google's Glass augmented reality device, as well as government look to a future of transport that is radically different from the world today.
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