Funding and infrastructure plans aim to put the UK at the forefront of world research into autonomous driving
4 December 2013

The government has revealed a plan to turn the UK into a world leader for the development of driverless cars.

In its far-reaching National Infrastructure Plan, unveiled in full today, the government said it will “conduct a review, reporting at the end of 2014, to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework demonstrates to the world’s car companies that the UK is the right place to develop and test driverless cars”.

Presently, the UK’s hub for driverless car development is at Oxford University, where the Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) is researching with an adapted Nissan Leaf.

But other nations are further advanced with their driverless car programmes; Google has racked up more than 100,000 miles of testing with its converted Toyota Prius, and last week Volvo announced a plan to put 100 autonomous vehicles on public roads around Gothenburg in Sweden by 2017.

Local and national laws in Arizona and Tokyo are already being revised to allow live testing of autonomous cars, and the UK government has identified the need to keep pace.

As an incentive to accelerate development, the government has put up a £10 million prize for a town or city to develop itself as a testing ground for driverless cars.

The government said it believed that “driverless cars are innovative technology that will change the way the world’s towns and cities look and the way people travel; they present opportunities for the British automotive industry in the manufacture of the cars and the wider science and engineering sectors in the design of towns.”

Photo: John Cairns

Our Verdict

Nissan Leaf

The electric Nissan Leaf has its work cut out competing with cheaper mainstream cars - but it does make a case for itself

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    The last hurrah for the current Aston Martin Vantage adds the track-ready GT8 to the range
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    20 October 2016
    New S5 Sportback is more spacious, better to drive and offers a calmer ride than before, but rivals offer greater involvement
  • Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy
    First Drive
    19 October 2016
    Mildly revised hot hatch is enjoyable on UK roads but continues to play second fiddle to the Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2016 Smart fortwo Brabus cabrio xclusive
    First Drive
    18 October 2016
    Mechanical upgrades make the Smart Fortwo Brabus cabrio better to drive, but it’s too pricey to recommend