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.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceOxford UniversityAutomotivenissanU.K. Department of Transportindustry verticals

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?