Back in May, Google announced plans to produce 100 self-driving vehicles and has since had their first driverless car prototype travel more than 300,000 miles on open roads. The vast development in driverless cars has now resulted in plans to review the road regulations and traffic laws, including many changes to the Highway Code. But will this release be a success or a dangerous disaster.
Two areas will need to be examined regarding road rules: how they apply to vehicles where last minute control can be taken manually by a driver and how they should apply to vehicles with no driver at all. In under 6 months, driverless cars will be taking over the streets of the UK, bringing a start to transformational tech. Originally, it was requested for driverless cars to be released by the end of last year however slow development and concerns regarding legal and insurance issues deterred this release and limited driverless vehicles to private roads opposed to public.
Nevada, California and Florida were the first three US states to approve driverless vehicle road tests, closely followed by Sweden who provided Volvo with permission to test 1,000 driverless vehicles beginning 2017. Different cities have been invited to compete in order to be one of three who get to host the first UK driverless car trials that will last from 18 to 36 months. £10 million will be split between the three cities in order to fund the programme for the 3 winners.
The very first driverless car prototype had no steering or brakes, containing only a stop and start button. The original Google tech has already been placed into Toyota, Audi and Lexus vehicles however major safety concerns have been expressed, including that by the FBI who believe the vehicles could be used as a weapon in instances of terrorist attacks.