The UK government is to amend road laws in order to allow self-driving cars to be trialled, according to The Telegraph.
The changes will mean the first autonomous vehicles will hit British roads in 2015, but don’t get too excited just yet: actual commercially available self-driving cars are still a few years away.
Current UK law forbids driverless vehicles on the road, but a change to the Highway Code will allow the first generation of autonomous (or rather semi-autonomous, because a licensed human driver will still need to be inside the car) to undergo on-road tests. Basically, this is just the first step in a lengthy process that will hopefully end with Britain’s roads, dual carriageways and motorways populated by highly efficient self-driving cars taking dozing/crossword-playing/reading commuters to work every morning.
It’s good news, of course, but the UK is lagging behind several other countries when it comes to autonomous vehicle readiness. Google has been testing its self-driving cars in the US since 2012, Nissan’s Tron was toodling down Japanese roads in late 2013 and in April of this year 100 self-driving Volvos were given access to the streets of Gothenburg.