Britain’s Roads to See Driverless Cars This Year
For the very first time, Britain is allowing self-driving cars to be tested on their public roads. The testing that will begin this year marks a significant breakthrough, as this will be the first driverless foray off of private land.
These cars are guided by cameras and sensors that allow it to know what’s around it. However, in case there is an emergency, there is a human “driver” on board that can take over and manually control the vehicle. The cars also have special lasers and cameras that can memorize trips that the driver often takes. For instance, a drive to work, school, or the supermarket could be memorized by the car and then used later on.
Although public roads with other drivers come with the possibility of real danger, the team from Oxford University responsible for these tests has selected seldom-used roads in rural and suburban areas to cut down on the possibility that any bugs will affect other motorists.
In May, Digital Manufacturing Report touched on how driverless cars will help to reduce both accidents and congestion on the roads. Now, the UK Department for Transport released details on their $42 billion plan that aims to accomplish just that.
According to the report, the self-driving cars will cut down on road risks by “using knowledge of the environment in which they are driving,” and by “maintain[ing] a safe distance from the vehicle in front at a set speed and without deviating from their lane – all without the driver’s input.”
Paul Watters, Head of the “roads policy” at the UKs AA, said “In the past our members have expressed concern about fully autonomous cars, preferring human interaction. The notion of reading the newspapers and drinking a cup of coffee is a bit far-fetched. It’s early days and driverless cars won’t be mainstream for a long time. But we have a variety of in-car technologies already, including guided parking and adaptive cruise control, so fully driverless cars will be the culmination of a gradual evolution, not an overnight revolution.”
The tests will begin this year but you’re still going to have to wait a few years before you can purchase one of these autonomous cars. But according to Google, self-driving vehicles will be commercially available within the next ten years.