The UK Could Become the Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Cars
Good news for fans of autonomous cars. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne used today’s budget to announce government plans to “establish the UK as a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles”.
How exactly? Well, the budget promises regulatory barriers will be “swept away” so trials of autonomous cars on public roads can begin as early as 2017. Plans are also afoot to build a so-called “connected corridor” between London and Dover. Set to cost £15million, it will allow compatible vehicles to wirelessly communicate with one another and the roadway itself.
Remember, pretty much every mainstream car company (and Google) worth its salt is working on self-driving tech’. At the Geneva motor show, Nissan told us it plans to start selling its more mainstream products with fully-autonomous technology in 2020. Tesla’s Autopilot continues to astound, and all it takes to make the new Merc’ E-Class more or less completely autonomous is a software tweak.
Also in the budget is confirmation that trials of “truck platooning” – where one driven truck leads a close convoy of up to nine driverless trucks – will take place on quieter stretches of UK motorway.
All very well, Mr. Osborne, but leave us a few B-roads to play with, OK?