The UK’s roads could see self-driving vehicles rolled out by 2025 under new government plans backed by a 100 million pound ($118 million) investment.
Some vehicles, including cars, coaches and lorries, with self-driving features could be operating on motorways in the next year, and the current plans set out new legislation which will allow for the safe wider rollout of self-driving vehicles by 2025.
“This enables the UK to take full advantage of the emerging market of self-driving vehicles — which could create up to 38,000 jobs and could be worth an estimated 42 billion pounds,” the UK government said in a statement.
The government’s vision for self-driving vehicles is backed by a total of 100 million pounds, with 34 million pounds confirmed for research to support safety developments and inform more detailed legislation.
This could include researching the performance of self-driving cars in poor weather conditions and how they interact with pedestrians, other vehicles, and cyclists.
The government has also confirmed 20 million pounds, as part of the overall 100 million pound, to help kick-start commercial self-driving services and enable businesses to grow and create jobs in the UK, following an existing 40 million pound investment.
The government said that self-driving vehicles could revolutionise public transport and passenger travel, especially for those who do not drive, better connect rural communities and reduce road collisions caused by human error.
Further in the future, they could, for example, provide tailored on-demand links from rural towns and villages to existing public transport options nearby.
They could also provide more direct and timely services that enable people to better access vital services such as schools and medical appointments.