Driverless cars are heading to UK roads next year

Britain wants to lead the convoy

Driverless cars

The UK government is set to confirm measures that will allow driverless cars to to be used on public roads next year.

Currently, driverless vehicles are only permitted on private roads, but the UK government is to outline plans that will introduce test cars onto the UK's public roads from January 2015.

The Department of Transport will begin reviewing public road laws to accommodate self-driving cars, with Business Secretary Vince Cable announcing a £10 million prize fund to be awarded to a town or city to host the trials.

Article continues below

You're probably already aware of Google's involvement in driverless cars, but a number of other major manufacturers, including Ford, Toyota, BMW, Hyundai and Audi are currently also working on driverless technology.

Safety first

Volvo's another one beavering away at autonomous vehicles. Nick Connor, Managing Director of Volvo Cars, told us in a statement: "We're currently working with authorities in Sweden on a similar trial in Gothenburg for our DriveMe programme of self-driving cars. Support of national and local government is crucial if we are to demonstrate the real life-changing potential of this technology and encourage adoption from the public.

"Driverless cars aren't pie in the sky or innovation for its own sake. They can make our roads safer, our air cleaner and our cities less congested."

He added that driverless technology should help the company to achieve its vision that by 2020 "no one should be killed or seriously hurt by a Volvo".