Driverless cars coming to the UK in 2017

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By Larry Banks

Driverless cars are seemingly all the rage these days, with trials happening all over the world. Britain said it will begin trials of driverless cars on motorways in 2017, as it moves towards its goal of allowing self-driving vehicles to take to the roads by 2020.

The UK government said last year there were no legal barriers as far as testing the technology is concerned, and already gave the go ahead for trials on some local roads.

The country’s finance minister George Osborne is expected to announce plans on Wednesday to test vehicles on motorways, and says the government will bring forward proposals to remove red tape as far as adopting the technology is concerned.

“Naturally we need to ensure safety, and that’s what the trials we are introducing will test,” Osborne said in a statement ahead of the annual budget presentation.

“If successful, we could see driverless cars available for sale and on Britain’s roads, boosting UK jobs and productivity.”

The worldwide market for self-driving vehicles is estimated at around $1.29 trillion worldwide, but there are legal obstacles such as determining who would be responsible in the case of an accident.

Driverless car testing in the UK will be restricted to vehicles that have a human present and would be able to take control if necessary, the Department for Transport previously said.

On Friday last week, the top safety agency in the US said there are still significant legal hurdles to clear before self-driving cars without steering wheels and gas pedals can be sold in the States.

Google owner Alphabet wants to eventually deploy full autonomous vehicles without any controls for humans, and many car makers are also developing vehicles that can drive themselves, at least some of the time.

SOURCE: Reuters.

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