Driverless cars could be on the roads by 2019

Self-driving cars are to be tested on UK roads as early as 2019. The incentive comes as part of the chancellor’s effort to boost the UK’s technology and science industries.

Driverless technology has been in development for some time now, with carmakers such as Jaguar Land Rover trialling autonomous vehicles for the consumer market. However under current legislation cars must have someone in the driving seat to prevent emergencies. By removing these restrictions the chancellor hopes to pave the way to making driverless technology a viable option for UK drivers.

As soon as changes to the law are implemented, companies will be able to test driverless vehicles on public roads, and not just specified highways. This could see self-driving cars on public roads as early as 2019.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said:  “We support government’s measures to make the UK one of the best places in the world to develop, test and sell connected and autonomous vehicles.

“These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives every year, while adding billions of pounds to the economy.”

However while many carmakers attest that autonomous vehicles will make an appearance in the next few years, others are sceptical that the current technology means it will be decades before driverless vehicles are capable of operating on most roads.