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Driverless car hits streets


Google’s driverless car

Google’s driverless car

A driverless vehicle carrying passengers has taken to Britain’s public roads for the first time today.The trial is aimed at paving the way for autonomous cars to hit the roads by the end of the decade.

The government is encouraging technology companies, carmakers and start-ups to develop and test their autonomous driving technologies in Britain.

The hope is to build an industry to serve a worldwide market, which it forecasts could be worth around $1.1 trillion by 2025.

Earlier this year, the government launched a consultation on changes to insurance rules and motoring regulations to allow driverless cars to be used by 2020 and said it would allow such vehicles to be tested on motorways from next year.

A pod, like a small two-seater car, developed by a company spun out from Oxford University was tested in Milton Keynes, with organisers hoping the trials will feed vital information on how the vehicle interacts with pedestrians and other road-users.

‘Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment,’ Britain’s business minister Greg Clark said.

‘The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms and the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles,’ he said.

The pod operates fully without human control, using data from cameras and radars to move around pedestrianised areas.

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Driverless car
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