The United States isn’t the only country racing to the finish line for autonomous cars. Countries across the globe are investing in advanced technology to bring self-driving cars to life. The U.K. is looking toward the future, announcing that they are moving ahead with advanced trials for self-driving cars—trials void of human safety drivers.
A time frame for the trials has not yet been determined. The British government’s release on the trial clearly states that they won’t begin until all suitable vehicles pass “rigorous safety assessments.” They hope to have fully autonomous vehicles in use by 2021.
Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility minister, says, “Thanks to the U.K.’s world-class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation. The government is supporting the safe, transparent trialing of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel.”
In 2015 the U.K. published a code of practice that allowed automated vehicle trials on any U.K. roadway, as long as they fulfilled stipulations including human back up drivers. The newer guidelines state that they “acknowledge the growing desire of industry to conduct more advanced trials, and a process to handle such trials on public roads.”
Automotive Minister Richard Harrington says, “We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move toward 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.”
Self-driving vehicles still have a lot to prove before they are fully implemented on roadways. But, having a government back them is certainly a big step forward and shows the willingness to embrace new technology.