UK to test driverless cars on road this year

Oxford University has teamed with Nissan to develop and test a semi-autonomous car

Self-driving cars will be tested on road in the U.K. by the end of this year, but will have drivers present in the cars, according to a report from the Department for Transport.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are working with Nissan to create semi-autonomous cars that will have a driver present "but are capable of driving fully independently, using knowledge of the environment in which they are driving," according to the report on improving the road network, published Tuesday.

A trial of the cars on the roads is expected to start later this year, it said.

While there is interest from vehicle makers and their systems suppliers to develop fully autonomous cars, further progress in that direction will depend mainly on ensuring public safety and on updating the law to take account of the new technology, according to the report.

Google and other companies are testing cars that drive themselves, and U.S. states like Nevada, California and Florida have permitted testing of the self-driving cars.

But self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at a stage that it can be authorized for use by the public for general driving, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation recommendation to state governments in May.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. recommended that states should ensure at a minimum that a person licensed to drive self-driving vehicles should be seated in the driver's seat, if a state decides to permit operation of self-driving vehicles other than for testing.

The licensed driver should "be available at all times in order to operate the vehicle in situations in which the automated technology is not able to safely control the vehicle," NHTSA said.( It said it wasn't aware of any systems intended for wide-scale deployment currently under development for use in cars that will provide a level of automation at which the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control.

The U.K. has a "fantastic opportunity" to be at the forefront of developments in technologies that can manage actions currently performed by the driver, according to the Department for Transport report. "While the emergence of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles will not remove the need for investment now in our roads, they have the potential to transform the way we travel on roads," it said.

Tags popular scienceOxford UniversityAutomotivenissanU.K. Department of Transportindustry verticals

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?