Driverless cars may come to UK motorways next year

Google driverless car

The UK is set to see driverless car trials on its motorways in 2017, as George Osborne is expected to reveal his support for autonomous vehicle technology in Wednesday’s Budget.

In his pre-budget statement, Mr Osborne said: “Britain must take bold decisions now to ensure it leads the world when it comes to new technologies and infrastructure.”

“Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine. If successful, we could see driverless cars available for sale and on Britain’s roads, boosting UK jobs and productivity,” he continued.

Local roads in Coventry, Bristol, Greenwich and Milton Keynes will be the first locations for trials of the driverless cars in the UK, at the end of this year.

Then, in 2017, Osborne expects A-roads and motorways to see trials of the vehicles. This could all result in the UK officially adopting the autonomous vehicle technology as early as 2020, which would be ahead of the vast majority of the world. It would require certain legislations to be addressed by Mr Osborne first, however, in order to pave the way for the technology to reach the roads.

The government’s Intelligent Mobility Fund will provide funding for the driverless cars, with a budget of £100m for clever new innovations within the transport industry.