New measures announced by business secretary Vince Cable pave the way for autonomous vehicles to be used in trials in cities and towns

The UK car industry will take a lead role in the development of the autonomous car within six months, when three government-funded pilot schemes start across the country that will result in 'driverless' prototypes running in large-scale tests in and around our cities.

Government Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced £10m of funding to be split between three bids, which will be identified via a bidding process administrated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Technology Strategy Board.

The bids are expected to come from new consortia formed by local governments, car-makers, technology suppliers and associated businesses, and must be submitted by October. 

The winning bids will be selected next year, enabling autonomous cars to take to the roads from January 2015. The pilot schemes will last between 18- and 36 months, and encourage research and development of both driver-supervised and totally driverless vehicles.

At the same time, a reform process of the UK's traffic laws will be undertaken to allow for legal autonomous driving – something that will span right down to a redrafting of The Highway Code. This follows an amendment of Article 8 of The United Nations' Vienna Convention agreed in April, which paves the way for autonomous driving in 72 countries around the world, the UK included.

By the terms of that amendment, which must be enacted into UK law, cars will be allowed to run autonomously on public roads as long as a driver is always able to "override or take control of the car".

Speaking at vehicle test and research facility, MIRA, where he tested a driverless car with the Science Minister Greg Clark, Cable said: "The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as a pioneer in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects.

"Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.

"Through the government’s industrial strategy we are backing the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength. We are providing the right environment to give businesses the confidence to invest and create high skilled jobs."

Today's development follows a pledge made by the UK government last year that it intended to "turn the UK into a world leader for the development of driverless cars".

These UK schemes will beat Volvo's recently announced 'DriveMe' large-scale test of autonomous cars onto the road by up to two years.

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22

30 July 2014
"Today's development follows a pledge made by the UK government last year that it intended to "turn the UK into a world leader for the development of driverless cars".
Seem to remember a previous pledge from this government about being leaders in green technology, that was before pushing the fracking agenda which could lead to 64% of this Country having oil & gas exploration. We only have to look in the direction of USA or Queensland Australia to see the devastating effects this industry has had on the land & water table. Not to mention the huge increase in heavy trucks servicing the industry.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

30 July 2014
I've said it before and I'll say it again, what a waste of time and money. At best it'll only ever work on a motorway, you'd constantly want to take over as no manuafacturer would allow their car to go over the speed limit, fancy a constant 70mph on a motorway??
And worst of all no one every mentions how much it'll add to the cost of Ford focus ?? They hardly sell any with park assist because of the costs.
The manufactures only give sound bites to appear high-tech what it takes is someone like Ford to say it won't work 100% and the cars would be unaffordable.
This is no more than lip-service adn the RandD money should be spend on the plug-in. End of Rant

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

30 July 2014
A personal taxi! Without a bacon sarnie hero driving it. Makes sense.

30 July 2014
And best of all not only can you get out without paying a tip you can get out without paying at all

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

30 July 2014
You may be able to get out without paying, but I doubt you'll be able to get in without paying... and paying even more if you vomit on the seats.

30 July 2014
You only have to spend half an hour on YouTube looking at Russian dash cam videos to know that human beings should not be in charge of cars. Or look at the stats. How many million people are killed every year in the world? One day those Smash potato robots will be laughing at the old days when we drove cars ourselves.
People who enjoy driving will have to do it on racetracks.
Everyone else will suddenly find they enjoy doing new things in their cars, like sleeping, working, playing games, or drinking. Cars will have drinks cabinets in the front!
And they'll be able to send the kids to grandmas in the car for baby sitting. Shop without the stress of parking, get everywhere faster, since there'll be no speed limits any more or traffic jams. Nobody will know people who have been killed in car crashes. The police will be free to pursue more important matters. The list of advantages is endless.
As somebody who lost his driving licence permanently at age 19 because of a frustratingly minor eye problem that doesn't affect my daily life, I'm counting on this being a success by the time I retire.
And I can imagine anybody who's blind or disabled, or just old and frightened of driving in today's world being just as excited as I am about the possibilities of driverless cars.
It all sounds like Utopian thinking just now but it's entirely possible. In fact, it simply has to happen. And it won't take long – no longer than it takes for virtually every Talbot Solara or first gen Ford Escort (or whatever) to disappear from the roads.
Get used to the idea.

30 July 2014
androo wrote:

You only have to spend half an hour on YouTube looking at Russian dash cam videos to know that human beings should not be in charge of cars. Or look at the stats. How many million people are killed every year in the world? One day those Smash potato robots will be laughing at the old days when we drove cars ourselves.
People who enjoy driving will have to do it on racetracks.
Everyone else will suddenly find they enjoy doing new things in their cars, like sleeping, working, playing games, or drinking. Cars will have drinks cabinets in the front!
And they'll be able to send the kids to grandmas in the car for baby sitting. Shop without the stress of parking, get everywhere faster, since there'll be no speed limits any more or traffic jams. Nobody will know people who have been killed in car crashes. The police will be free to pursue more important matters. The list of advantages is endless.
As somebody who lost his driving licence permanently at age 19 because of a frustratingly minor eye problem that doesn't affect my daily life, I'm counting on this being a success by the time I retire.
And I can imagine anybody who's blind or disabled, or just old and frightened of driving in today's world being just as excited as I am about the possibilities of driverless cars.
It all sounds like Utopian thinking just now but it's entirely possible. In fact, it simply has to happen. And it won't take long – no longer than it takes for virtually every Talbot Solara or first gen Ford Escort (or whatever) to disappear from the roads.
Get used to the idea.

That might be your utopian vision but, it is certainly not everyone's, nor is it likely, especially not the no-one being killed in crashes. That would require 100% reliability and nobody doing anything stupid, like stepping out infront of a car too close for it to stop or swerve. Very wishful thinking at best.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

30 July 2014
Mmm...two of these meet in a narrow lane...which one will give way ?
Will they be able to overtake slower traffic ?......or do you sit forever behind that 'naughty' delivery van double parked ?
I expect the insurance fraudsters are already looking at the possibilities of making false claims.
But, as in most things...it doesn't matter what I think. Money talks...we don't.

30 July 2014
To my eyes the technology is just a matter of time. What needs to be ironed out is the new business models like:

Why would you own a car any more if you can simply book one to get from A to B.
Why have look at me designs and performance engines.
No need for personal car insurance.
How many cars are need to serve the community.
Where will they all be parked.

The changes are huge like:

No cars parked on the road side.
Why build houses with drives or garages.
Why have buses.

This change isn't just coming for car driving all sectors are going to be hit including Doctors, lawyers and all other professionals.

What will you do with your free time!

30 July 2014
Driving will go the way of the horses. No longer the method to get somewhere, it is a hobby, and becomes all the more special because of it. Driving on the public highway is drudgery all too often. Let's be free of that.

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