A group of British companies are planning to test driverless cars on UK motorways by 2019. The British consortium known as The Driven group is headed up by Oxbotica, a company that makes software for driverless vehicles.
The driverless cars will communicate hazards and will be almost entirely autonomous, although a human will be in the cars during the test drive.
Driverless cars have so far only been tested in the UK at relatively low speeds and not on public roads, so this test will mean the dream of driverless testing is a step closer to becoming reality.
The driverless cars trial is being backed by the UK government, with a £8.6m grant which includes the input of an insurance company tasked with assessing the risks along the journey of the driverless cars.
Around £100m has been awarded to autonomous driving projects by the UK government. There are concerns that this simply isn’t enough compared with other countries and the amounts being invested into the technology there.
As part of the trial, there will be six vehicles tested and factors of testing will look at data protection, how driverless should be insured and cyber security.
As well as testing driverless cars in London, there are also plans for driverless cars to travel between London and Oxford – a distance of 51 miles.
With the ever-evolving landscape of technology, cars have now become more autonomous with the main manufacturers including some aspects of driverless technology in their models, including self-parking features and the ability to use cruise-control on motorways.
AI firm FiveAI are developing technology in conjunction with the University of Oxford, the Transport Research Laboratory and Transport for London. FiveAI design similar software for companies in many different countries.
Research for the UK government is suggesting that the automated vehicle market in the UK will be worth £28bn by 2035.