Fully self-driving vehicles could be on UK roads by 2025 under new government plans backed by a £100m investment.
New laws are planned to speed up the rollout, with £34m of safety research to feed into developing the legislation.
Vehicles that can drive themselves only on motorways could even be on sale within the next year, the government said, but people would still need a licence to use them on different types of roads.
Others that are completely autonomous, and could be used for deliveries for example, wouldn’t need a licence and could be up and running in three years’ time if the government’s vision is realised.
Cars with self-driving capabilities, such as Teslas, are already fairly common in some British cities, and companies such as Google are already testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in the US.
The technology relies on multiple cameras and range-detecting lasers to navigate and spot vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles.
Supporters say it can make roads safer and cut driver error, but the testing and rules and regulations around the technology are still being worked out.
The government is consulting on safety and said new laws would make manufacturers responsible for a vehicle’s actions when self-driving is completely in control, meaning a human driver would not be liable for accidents.
The industry could create as many as 38,000 jobs and revolutionise public transport, according to the Department for Transport.
First Pubished by Sky News