Driverless Cars to Hit U.K. Public Roads Next Summer

Feb 11, 2015 08:30 AM EST | Matt Mercuro


Self-driving vehicles will be tested on public roads in the U.K. in an attempt to encourage companies from all over the world creating the technology to invest in the country.

Britain's Department for Transport said that driverless car testing will be restricted to vehicles with a person present and capable of taking control if needed, according to Reuters.

After conducting a review of driverless vehicles, the Department for Transportation determined that there were no legal issues to the technology being tested on British roads.

A code for driverless cars, which is being worked out now, should be published sometime this spring. Self-driving vehicles are expected to hit roads across the country from the summer.

Britain's auto industry has been growing the past couple of years, so much so that lawmakers believe driverless car technology could help sustain the sector for decades to come, according to Reuters. The value of British car export has doubled during the past 10 years.

"I want Britain to be at the forefront of this exciting new development, to embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment," Transport Minister Claire Perry said in a company statement.

Thanks to automakers like Daimler and technology companies like Google, the driverless industry is expected to be worth $1.37 trillion (900 billion pounds) by 2025, according to the UK government.

The main reason self-driving cars will reach public roads is due to a 19 million pound investment by the U.K. government in four British towns.

Perry is scheduled to attend an event on Wednesday where a vehicle developed by the defense company BAE System and a driverless pod will be showcased.

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