Getting excited about the prospect of driverless cars coming to Britain’s roads? Well, now we have a little more information about the forthcoming trial of this cutting edge tech.
From January 2015 (yes, next month), four cities will be testing various types of self-driving vehicles.
In the southeast London borough of Greenwich, the Transport Research Laboratory will run the rule over driverless 10-seater electric buses (albeit not on public roads), as well as an autonomous valet parking system and a system that allows engineers to remotely control a vehicle that has run into difficulties while on the road.
Look Ma, no hands
In Bristol, the trial will look at how driverless cars will affect road laws and insurance policies – things that will almost certainly require tweaking in a world of autonomous motors (despite them being, in all likelihood, significantly safer than human-driven vehicles).
Coventry and Milton Keynes, meanwhile, will play joint hosts to tests by a consortium including manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata, the engineering firm Arup and Oxford and Cambridge universities. Set for trial are various vehicles with different levels of autonomy as well as small, self-driving pods intended to zip around pedestrianised areas.
The trials won’t be large-scale, so even if you live in one of these towns you might not spot any driver-free motors zooming around. But they represent an important step in getting autonomous vehicles onto Britain’s roads.