The UK’s plans for driverless cars have been announced, four cities, three testing initiatives, and a multitude of vehicles are set to roll out around the country.
In Bristol, Greenwich, Coventry and Milton Keynes three test initiatives are set to begin, with the latter two working together on a joint venture.
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First up Bristol’s Venturer Consortium will aim to discover the eligibility of whether these driverless vehicles will reduce congestion and ease travel stresses, with biggest backer insurance provider Axa leaning focus towards public reaction, legal and insurance implications of the tech.
Greenwich’s Gateway scheme aims to create a shuttle network of drone vehicles which should also make it easier to get around, as well as pioneer automated valet systems to get modified vehicles parked after passengers disembark. General Motors, the AA and the RAC are all involved on Gateway, which is lead by the Transport Research Laboratory.
Gateway will also attempt to get a 3D map of the area created by automated vehicles, which will work as a simulator to gauge public reaction to being at the mercy of the developing tech on the road, with TRL’s goal to ‘safely demonstrate automated vehicles to build acceptance and trust in this revolutionary technology’ according to firm CEO Rob Wallis.
Meanwhile in Milton keynes and Coventry the UK Autodrive Program will work towards getting autodrive tech out onto the road by testing modified self driving vehicles as well as self-driving ‘pods’ designed for urban pedestrian areas.
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Their biggest aim is to develop and test the tech that will be needed to augments roads and surrounding areas to detect and manage these self driving vehicles,.
“Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads,” said Tim Armitage from engineering consultancy Arup.
Land Rover Ford and Jaguar are onboard with the UK Autodrive Program, as well as Arup, so there’s a lot of big money auto experience involved with the Coventry and Milton Keynes scheme.
The green light will illuminate on the joint ventures on the first of January 2015, with the tests lasting from a year and a half all the way up to three years. We’ll report any interesting findings from all of the schemes as they come to light.