The government is set to announce it will be backing trials of driverless cars on UK motorways as early as 2017, in a bid to ensure the nation stays ahead of the curve in the technology world.
Chancellor George Osborne will apparently announce where and when driverless cars will hit the motorway network, during his upcoming Budget speech.
“Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine. Naturally, we need to ensure safety, and that’s what the trials we are introducing will test,” Osborne said, noting how pursuing such technologies will help Britain stand tall in the global economy.
Clearly, Osborne has his eye on securing a slice of the driverless car market that has been touted to be worth around £51bn in overall social and economic benefits by 2030, as well as having the potential to provide 320,000 new jobs by the same date.
For some time the government has been championing driverless cars, with trials on public roads given the go-ahead last year.
Trials have been happening in Bristol, Greenwich, Milton Keynes and Coventry, with the government also announcing plans to trial driverless lorries on UK roads as well.
Given that last year the government committed £20m to paving the way for driverless cars in the UK, it comes as little surprise that the Chancellor is to reinforced the government’s commitment to the technology.
The UK is in a solid position to advance driverless car technology, particularly given it is the home of Jaguar Land Rover, a company that is at the forefront of high-tech motoring.
The car maker recently revealed it wants to create driverless cars that behave like human-controlled vehicles, as part of its research into understanding how people drive cars.
However, before Britain becomes a hotbed of autonomous vehicles, the government will need address several challenges such as the safety, liability and licensing of driverless cars.
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