Self-driving cars without a human behind the wheel will be allowed to run freely on UK roads from 2021, the chancellor has announced in the Autumn Budget.
The plans by Philip Hammond are one of a host of measures intended to boost the automotive and technology industries.
A number of UK companies have recently ramped up testing of autonomous cars. Only last week, a partnership of Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors confirmed it had taken its self-driving trial to public roads for the first time.
Greenwich in south London and Olympic Park in Stratford are also two key hubs for trials of autonomous cars.
However, these current trials must have a human in the driving seat in case something goes wrong. The new rules, which will mean a change to the Road Traffic Act, will allow testing without a driver at the wheel.
The plans will help the UK catch up with countries such as America and Singapore, both of which have been leading the way with self-driving research.
In the US, Uber is running a self-driving taxi service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but drivers have needed to take control to avoid an incident on a number of occasions.
More notably, Google’s self-driving firm Waymo announced earlier this month that it will now offer a fully autonomous taxi service in a suburb of Pheonix, Arizona without a driver behind the wheel.
By removing the current legal constraints, many of which still apply in mainland Europe and large parts of the US, Hammond will allow the UK to become a world leader in self-driving cars.