Autonomous Vehicles

Published on August 6th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


UK To Allow Autonomous Cars Starting Next Year

August 6th, 2014 by  


The dawn of the driverless car is here, and all over the world countries are planning for the inevitable adoption of autonomous cars. While here in the US laws vary widely regarding the use of autonomous cars, starting in January in the UK, driverless vehicles will be allowed on public roads all across the small nation, reports the BBC.

The United Kingdom is working to make the country inviting to this new breed of automobile, and the government is inviting its biggest cities to compete to be one of three metro areas where self-driving car trials can begin. In addition, transportation and business ministers are calling for an overview of road regulations in order to ensure that autonomous car drivers aren’t unintentionally breaking any laws.

“Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable.

A £10 million (about $16.8 million) fund has been set up to help the three chosen cities cover the costs of adopting their streets to driverless cars, and cities have until October to express their interest in the project. Tests are planned to run between 18 and 36 months, and could help make the UK one of the most welcoming places for companies to bring their autonomous car technologies.

But with US states like Nevada, Florida, and of course Califonira already inviting automakers to test self-driving vehicles on their roads, the UK isn’t the first to open its roads to autonomous vehicles. Which place will see self-driving cars come en masse first?

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • What is the purpose of driverless cars? Like all technology deployments going from R&D to commercialization, there will be bugs to work out. Maybe driverless cars will incentivize others not using driverless cars to take public transportation, during this shakedown period. Boosting public transportation. Google should work on its spreadsheet app first. Instead of getting into the robot business so quickly. Google sheets is horrible. There was more math functions and data manipulation available on Lotus 123 circa 1984 then there is on Sheets circa 2014.

    • Matt

      First Sheets are cars are two totally different markets, and have zero overlap in development.
      Propose of Driverless cars?
      – What % of accidents are the result of poor driver behavior?
      – Also think in a city, driverless taxis, using predictive algorithm to position currently empty cars where they will likely be needed. EV based so they charge when not in use and do pollute the city air. And no more driver taking the long way to raise the fair.
      – If car ahead and behind are also driverless, can share data and reduce distance between cuts down on drag. Must less false braking and rubber necking that make road a parking lot when there something to see going the other direction.

      • Google does have a standard practice of throwing ventures against the wall to see what sticks. As made clear on many of their applications they introduce, only to shut down quickly. As someone who uses Google Business Apps, but needs to use MS Excel 2007 for spreadsheet work for practical purposes, I’m not excited about all Google’s ventures. Plus, and most important, Google is an advertising company first and foremost. That is how they make money. Its interest in driverless cars is based on reducing the cost of Google Maps, an advertising platform where it makes mountains of money. Even more concerning is Silicon Valley’s limited interest in regulation on the one hand, while taking billions of tax dollars from NSA startup funding through supply of government products and services.

        Now I understand others are getting into the driverless car game. But why? We have many people walking around the planet needing work. Driving a taxi is good work for many. Being productive while driving? Why not take public transportation? We have much more prescient concerns to tackle, while our world undergoes an ever increasing number of impacts due to climate change acceleration. Automobile manufacturers should focus on making its cars more efficient at the power train. This tech focus is simply to align themselves with Silicon Valley. Probably to have pinpoint advertising placed on dashboard screens and car speakers.

        • Ronald Brakels

          At Australian minimum wage a self driving taxi operating round the clock will save over $140,000 in driver’s wages and thousands more in reduced insurance costs, wear and tear and fuel. It also allows room for an extra passenger or alternatively smaller, more energy efficient vehicles.

          Here in Australia we tax big earners and use it to fund a guaranteed income for all Australians and provide socially inclusive work and activities for all who desire it.

          Oh, sorry, I was dreaming for a second there. Currently, at a point in time when Australia has never been richer, our Coalition government is working to punish the unemployed for being poor. Which is a bit like punishing water for being wet. But then if sadistic psychopaths in government don’t needlessly make people suffer, who will? We can’t rely on self administrated electric shocks to do it. A lot of poor people can’t afford electricity.

    • No way

      Purpose? Not having to drive. Safer cars. Better fuel economics. Cheap taxi, cheap logistics like transports by truck. Better car sharing programs which reduce the need for a car, the cost of “ownership” and reduce pollutions.

      There are a number of purposes and reasons. Take your pick.

    • Offgridman

      While you don’t see the need, their are some like myself that do. In 15-25 years my license will be revoked due to age and disabilities. So at that point are you saying that I am forced to move into a nursing home at the governments expense. Or is it possible that a self driving taxi or personal automobile (that I would gladly buy for the autonomy) can get me to my Dr’s appointments and grocery shopping.
      So do I get to continue living my carbon neutral lifestyle, thanks to solar panels and acreage left in trees. Or would you rather I sold off my sons inheritance and eventually relied on your taxes to support me?

      • Bob_Wallace

        I’m in somewhat the same position. A self-driving car would help me stay longer in my mountain paradise rather than have to move to town where I could use the city bus/taxis.

        And after being almost killed (seriously injured) twice by drunk drivers, I’d be fine if computers did the driving. They tend to stay sober.

        • Offgridman

          Well fortunately if genetics and family history hold true I am going to be around for another 30-50 years. And this is great I look forward to seeing the changes in our world and society and where technology might take us, possibly with the continuing advances in the medical field it will be even longer.
          But unfortunately due to some issues that my longer lived ancestors didn’t have to deal with remaining autonomous in my own ‘mountain paradise’ may become impossible in the period I stated without the advances of self driving cars.
          I grew up out in the country and then spent a lot of years working and living in the cities in order to be able to live out my life out here in the peace and quiet where I am happy. Even though it lacks some of the conveniences or the amenities of public transportation it is where I want to be.
          So bring on the self driving cars, they will be more of a blessing to people like you and I than anyone that wants to keep their nose stuck in their smartphone on the way to work in the city will ever realize.

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