The UK government has announced that it will begin testing driverless cars on motorways for the first time in 2017, as it moves toward its goal of allowing autonomous cars to take to the streets by 2020.
Finance minister George Osborne is set to announce details on Wednesday of his test vehicles on motorways. He added that the government will bring forward proposals to remove regulatory barriers to the technology,.
“Naturally we need to ensure safety, and that’s what the trials we are introducing will test. If successful, we could see driverless cars available for sale and on Britain’s roads, boosting UK jobs and productivity,” Osborne said.
The reason that Osborne is pushing the technology is that it is expected to be worth $1.29 trillion worldwide. All that remains is the legal problem of who would be responsible in the event of an accident.
Driverless car testing will be restricted to vehicles with a person present and able to take control should the need arise, Britain’s Department for Transport has previously said.
In making the move Osborne hopes to steal a March on the US which claims there are significant legal hurdles to be cleared before self-driving cars without steering wheels and gas pedals could be sold in the United States.