Wednesday, 17 July 2013

UK driverless cars trials to begin this year

UK driverless cars trials to begin this year

Driverless cars are to be tested on UK roads later this year as part of a £28 billion road strategy unveiled by the Government.

A team from Nissan has been working together with researchers from Oxford University to develop the technology, which has until now only been tested on private roads.

Now the team has been granted permission from the Department of Transport for live road trials involving other traffic.

Motorists should not worry – although the cars are capable of driving themselves, a backup driver will be in the car should anything go wrong, and the trials will begin on lightly trafficked rural roads.

Internet giant Google has already been developing its own driverless car in California, kitting out a hybrid Toyota Prius with an array of lasers and sensors, which help it navigate a multitude of different types of road without incident.

The team from Oxford has instead plumped for an all-electric Nissan Leaf, which can currently drive itself over a pre-determined route, with a human driver able to regain control by hitting the brakes.

The trials of these driverless cars are based on the belief that motoring can be made even safer by removing the element of human error.

Alongside the launch of the tests, the Government also pledged another £500 million investment in electric vehicles as well as promising to widen major roads and resurface them in attempt to reduce road noise.

A three-fold increase in funding for motorways and A-roads has also been promised, which would be the biggest investment in the UK road network since the 1970s.

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