U.K. to Test Driverless Cars on Public Roads Come January
In a mere matter of months, driverless cars could be buzzing along public roads across the United Kingdom.
Britain's business secretary, Vince Cable, announced today an ambitious program whereby three cities will compete to host trials of self-driving cars next January. Interested parties must declare so in October, and a total of $17 million will eventually be allotted for 18 to 36 months of testing in winning locales.
The initiative puts the U.K. "at the forefront of this transformational technology and [opens] up new opportunities for our economy and society," he told the BBC.
Ministers are also reviewing countrywide road regulations that have thus far restricted tests -- including an ongoing study at the University of Oxford -- to private roads.
The U.K. is not the first country to allow driverless cars on public roads. Japan, Sweden and the United States -- in California, Nevada and Florida -- have all approved similar tests.
The technology took another giant leap towards actualization when Google, after three years in the making, unveiled its autonomous prototype in May, touting no steering wheel and a panic button.
In a study released in January, global research firm IHS said it expects self-driving cars to be widely available before 2025 and that nearly all vehicles on the road will be self-driving sometime after 2050.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
This Co-Founder Was Kicked Out of Retailers for Pitching a 'Taboo' Beauty Product. Now, Her Multi-Million-Dollar Company Sells It for More Than $20 an Ounce.
Have You Ever Obsessed Over 'What If'? According to Scientists, You Don't Actually Know What Would Have Fixed Everything.
After He Was Fired From the UFC, This Former Fighter Turned His Passion Into a Thriving Business
Most People Don't Know These 2 Things Are Resume Red Flags. A Career Expert Reveals How to Work Around Them.