Driverless cars tested on UK roads

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A driverless vehicle has taken to Britain's streets for the first time, in a trial run by Oxford University.

The two-seater electric vehicle drove a 0.6km loop on the pavements around Milton Keynes railway station, in what was a 'landmark step' for bringing autonomous vehicles to the UK.

The pod took local dignitaries and members of the press for short trips, alongside a safety driver, who would have been able to take control of the car in an emergency.

Software developed by Oxford University's Oxford Robotics Institute and integrated by spinout company Oxbotica was implemented in the vehicle.

Named Selenium, the system used data from cameras and LIDAR systems to navigate its way around. The trial was the culmination of 18 months of planning, and the team behind it now hope to bring a fleet of 40 of the pods to the public by 2018.

Programme director Neil Fulton said the response to the trial was 'overwhelmingly positive'. He commented: "This public demonstration represents a major milestone for autonomous vehicles in the UK and the culmination of an extensive project involving UK companies and experts.

"Oxford University's technology will go on to power automated vehicles around the world, and the project will now feed into a much wider programme of autonomous trials across the UK.

"Driverless vehicles are coming to Britain, and what we have demonstrated today is a huge step on that journey."