Driverless cars on our roads in January 2

selfAutonomous cars look set to arrive here in January. The Government announced the news today that they will be allowed to be tested on public roads as soon as next year.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary has said that the announcement puts the UK on the ‘forefront’ in the automotive industry regarding this type of technology. Mira, an automotive engineering firm are opening a brand new research facility, with Vince Cable revealing the details of the plant. This is a clear example of our economy benefiting from self-driving cars. There will be more ‘opportunities for our economy and society’ according our Business Secretary.

Trails for autonomous cars were originally planned to be here by the end of last year. So far self-driving cars have been restricted to be only being tested on private roads due to insurance issues. It is a different case abroad however. Public road testing has already started in certain countries, including America.

Tests of autonomous cars have already been approved in California, Nevada and Florida. Google are very big players with autonomous technology and their driverless car has already managed to reach an outstanding 300,000 miles of open road testing.

Japan has also started testing, with self-driving cars being publicly tested for the first time on a motorway. Sweden has allowed Gothenburg to test 1,000 driverless cars, which has been scheduled for 2017.

Other cities here in the United Kingdom also have an opportunity to test autonomous cars. They have until October this year to declare their interest. Tests will run for at least 18 months and a maximum of 36 months. A £10 million fund has been created, which will be shared between the three winners.

One issue of self-driving cars is that of safety. Vince Cable has said that he felt safe when inside a driverless car, which should ease fears.

Appropriate guidelines must be put in place before anything can happen. A review has been ordered of the UK’s road regulations following the announcement of driverless cars. Civil servants have until the end of the year to provide the new guidelines in question.

The guidelines will ensure that self-driving cars comply with the current traffic and safety laws. Changes will also be made to the Highway Code.