UK To Allow Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles On Their Roads

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Self-driving vehicles will start development drives on UK motorways as the British government decided to help the technology reaching sooner to the market.

Bloomberg reports that the government is going to remove the regulations that prohibit the use of driverless cars on British roads within the current parliamentary term. The first trials will be held this year on local roads, with tests on motorways and strategic roads to follow in 2017.

"At a time of great uncertainty in the global economy, Britain must take bold decisions now to ensure it leads the world when it comes to new technologies and infrastructure," Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in a statement on Saturday. "Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine."

The UK trials are expected to attract investment and allow for a faster development of the technology, with manufacturers like Jaguar-Land Rover and Nissan already committed. Development trials have already been carried out in the US and Germany but motorway testing is still in an early stage.

Testing of autonomous vehicles is expected to bring closure of individual lanes, at least for the first stage of the development process. The first fully-autonomous vehicles are expected to hit the market by the end of the decade.

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