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The driverless car: what will it mean for transport in the UK?

The stuff of science fiction just a couple of years ago, the idea of a road vehicle that can operate without the need for a human at the controls has progressed with bewildering speed. Rik Thomas reports on developments around the globe and considers the implications for transport systems

Rik Thomas
13 June 2014
Google is set to start manufacturing its own driverless cars shortly, after having conducted extensive experiments with modified ‘conventional’ vehicles
Google is set to start manufacturing its own driverless cars shortly, after having conducted extensive experiments with modified ‘conventional’ vehicles
The UK’s Transport Systems Catapult centre, based in Milton Keynes, is promoting the concept of driverless pods, though there are currently no plans to operate them on roads
The UK’s Transport Systems Catapult centre, based in Milton Keynes, is promoting the concept of driverless pods, though there are currently no plans to operate them on roads

 

A t the moment nowhere in the world is it legal to travel from A to B in a road vehicle that doesn’t have someone who is at least nominally in charge in the ‘driver’s seat’. But that is set to change come September, when the state legislature in California (which is currently one of four US states to allow driverless cars to operate on the public highway) is due to pass a law enabling fully automated road vehicles to move people around without even a nominal...

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