SELF-DRIVING CARS will be unleashed upon UK roads without human supervisors by 2021, if government plans come to fruition.
Driverless car testing is already being carried out in parts of Blighty, but the tests are pretty limited and human supervisors are present all the time.
But the Department of Transport (DfT) reckons that testing on a large scale could happen sooner than expected and says there will be no need for a flesh-and-bone human to sit behind the wheel. That's because the DfT bigwigs think the UK has the tech nailed when it comes to autonomous vehicles.
"Thanks to the UK's world-class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation," said Jesse Norman, future of mobility minister.
"The government is supporting the safe, transparent trialling of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel."
And Richard Harrington, automotive minister is also towing the line: "We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the code of practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads."
That code of practice he mentions was first put out in 2015 when driverless cars were but something Google was messing around with. But now everyone seems to be at it and the updated code allows for self-driving cars to be "possible on any UK road provided they are compliant with UK law" and to be overseen with a remote driver rather than one sat behind the wheel.
It's a bold move given driverless cars still end up in nasty fender benders; an Uber self-driving car in Arizona recently ended up hitting and killing a person even though a safety driver was behind the wheel.
That's not to say self-driving cars are any more dangerous than the average nutter we see on UK roads, but we can imagine a few people would be spooked a little when they look across a motorway lane only to see a car going about its merry way with no one at the wheel. µ
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