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
2013 saw the launch of the re-engineered 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
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Insignia gets new 'Whisper' 2.0-litre diesel, which promises better refinement and company car-friendly figures
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Honda's quirky hatchback gets styling and equipment tweaks for 2015, as well as this new Sport trim