Driverless cars step closer to appearing on British roads under Government plans

Driverless cars are a step closer to appearing on British roads after ministers announced plans to move forward on advanced trials for automated vehicles.

The Department for Transport (DfT) also outlined plans to strengthen the code of practice for testing automated vehicles to ensure trials are conducted safely.

Ministers have pledged to have fully self-driving cars on the roads by 2021, although The Times claimed they could appear by the end of the year.

The update to the code of practice will require anyone carrying out an automated vehicle trial to publish safety information, trial performance reports and to carry out risk assessments.

Organisers will also be expected to inform the relevant authorities and emergency services, according to the DfT.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Thanks to the UK’s world class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation.

“The Government is supporting the safe, transparent trialling of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel.”

Automotive Minister Richard Harrington added: “The UK has a rich heritage in automotive development and manufacturing, with automated and electric vehicles set to transform the way we all live our lives.

“We want to ensure through the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge that we build on this success and strength to ensure we are home to development and manufacture of the next generation of vehicles.

“We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the Code of Practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads.”

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