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Subservient driverless cars to roll into Milton Keynes in 2015

Driverless car concept
Johnny 5's new set of wheels

The UK government is rallying behind a new £1.5 million scheme set to bring 20 driverless cars to Milton Keynes by 2015.

It isn't likely that Clarkson will be road testing the vehicles involved though - the scheme's 'Pod' cars can carry two people at a time and are capable of reaching a maximum speed of 12mph.

Nor will they be fully automated, instead featuring a joystick or steering wheel that will allow passengers to guide them on dedicated pathways. Similar technology has been trialled by Google in the past year.

The pods will be booked and hailed using a smartphone app, though it's unclear whether it'll be legal to board one after a raucous night out with a kebab in hand.

Auto pilot

Around 100 fully autonomous pods are expected to be launched in 2017 that will use inbuilt sensors to avoid obstacles. It's unclear who will be manufacturing the pods, though pictures suggest that the model used will be the EN-V17 that has been designed by General Motors and Segway.

Along with the UK government's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the joint scheme is supported by the Automotive Council, Milton Keynes Council and other industrial partners.

One of those, Catapult Transport Systems, says that Milton Keynes was chosen for its suitability to test the potential of "autonomous vehicles, cloud-enabled mobility and transport on-remand services".

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "By 2050, very few - if any - new cars will be powered solely by the traditional internal combustion engines, so it is important that the UK car industry is at the cutting edge of low carbon technologies."