New generation of computer-controlled vehicles will use GPS technology to navigate the streets, but the Highway Code will have to be updated. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but driver-less cars are soon to become a reality.
The computer-generated vehicles, which use GPS technology to locate the cars on an electronic map, could be on our roads from as early as January. But the move will require a change to the Highway Code, meaning ministers will need to update current laws.
The government will announce plans today to start testing the automated vehicles early next year. So far, worries about legal and insurance issues have restricted the cars to private roads.
All of the major manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, General Motors, Ford and Toyota are working towards their own production models of driverless cars.
Google has at least ten test cars loaded up with its autonomous driving technology, including Toyota Prius, Audi TT, and Lexus RX450h. The search-giant exhibited a prototype which has no steering wheel or pedals – just a stop-go button.
Experts fear the UK could start lagging behind if it doesn’t start testing the vehicles.
In California, driverless cars are already road legal. Google’s self-driving cars have already logged 700,000 miles.
In 2013, Nissan carried out Japan’s first public road test of an autonomous vehicle on a highway.
And the Swedish city of Gothenburg is to allow 1,000 Volvo driverless cars to take to the road by 2017.
But motoring campaigners have raised safety fears over the move and concerns about who would be responsible in the event of crash.
And earlier this month the FBI also warned that driverless cars could be used as lethal weapons.