Driverless cars will start UK motorway trials in 2019 0

Driverless-cars-will-start-UK-motorway-trials-in-2019A consortium of UK companies has announced plans to begin autonomous vehicle testing on UK roads and motorways in 2019.

The partnership, known as the ‘Driven’ group also intends to trial a fleet of driverless cars between London and Oxford.

The vehicles will be able to communicate with each other about potential hazards on the route and will be fully autonomous – albeit with a human onboard in a supervisory capacity.

All previous tests of autonomous cars in the UK to date have been conducted on private roads; this is the first time tests will take place on roads used by the public.

The consortium is led by Oxbotica, a driverless vehicle software company.

The company’s founder, Professor Paul Newman of Oxford University, says: “We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.”

A government grant of £8.6 million has already been awarded to the scheme and those involved in the project include an insurance company, who will assesses the risks involved at all stages of the journey.

Around £100 million has been committed so far in total by the UK government towards driverless car projects.

One expert however, believes the country is already lagging behind the progress being made elsewhere.

“Britain is trying to keep up, but the big development in the field is going on elsewhere,” said Prof David Bailey from Aston Business School to the BBC.

“That includes Google in the US, Volvo in China and Daimler in Germany.

“And amounts being committed [by the UK] are relatively small beer.

“The Obama government, for example, proposed spending billions of dollars over 10 years.”

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