The government's Autumn Statement has revealed that Bristol, London, Milton Keynes and Coventry will be test cities for driverless cars.
The government is spending £9m as part of the push around driverless car technology, with trials due to begin on 1 January 2015.
The Bristol pilot is being run by a consortium called Venturer comprising engineering consultancy Atkins, Bristol City Council, and Bristol Robotics Laboratory – a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.
Lee Woodcock, Venturer project lead and technology director for Atkins' highways and transportation business, said the selection of Bristol to host driverless car tests was a real win for the region and would benefit the UK as a whole.
"This programme will help keep the UK at the forefront of this transformational technology, helping to deepen our understanding of the impact on road users and wider society and open up new opportunities for our economy and society."
Milton Keynes, which is already involved in Internet of Things research, and Coventry will host trials of the two-seater Lutz (Low-carbon Urban Transport Zone) driverless car that will be run by the Transport Systems Catapult and the UK Autodrive consortium, whose members include Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.
"UK Autodrive will build on the success of the Lutz Pathfinder programme, using the design and performance information it generates to create a city-scale demonstrator," said Steve Yianni, chief executive of the Transport Systems Catapult.
"We are delighted to be one of the UK Autodrive partners and will ensure that the knowledge and information it creates is shared to maximise the impact it has for business, growth, and transport."
The London Borough of Greenwich, meanwhile, is the location for the Transport Research Laboratory's (TRL's) Gateway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) scheme.
"We have the perfect location in which to demonstrate automated transport systems and our vision is to bring international recognition to Greenwich, London and the UK through this project, establishing the UK as the global centre of excellence for the testing and development of automated vehicles," said Dr Nick Reed, technical lead of the Gateway project.
Nick Jones, lead technologist for the low carbon vehicle innovation platform at Innovate UK, said driverless cars will usher in a transport revolution.
"Cars that drive themselves would represent the most significant transformation in road travel since the introduction of the internal combustion engine and at Innovate UK, we want to help the UK to lead the world in making that happen," he said.
The Autumn Statement also included plans to clamp down on major tech giants who try to avoid paying their fair share of tax, as well as confirmation the Alan Turing Centre for big data research will be based in London.
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