For the first time, driverless cars took to public roads in Britain, marking the country’s first public trial of this emerging technology, according to an Associated Press article.
Four self-driving prototypes were unveiled during the trials held earlier this week, including a shuttle that looks like a golf cart and compact “pod” that seats two people. Journalists had the opportunity to take short rides on the shuttle as it made its way outside London’s O2 Arena, according to the article.
Britain has a series of planned rule reviews scheduled to accommodate this new technology, according to the article. Britain, like the United States, is one of the countries taking the lead on driverless vehicle development, but even so, officials expect that regulation and legal challenges will keep these cars off British roads until 2030.
Britain’s government is spending 19 million pounds (US $29 million) on four trial centers around the country and has plans to amend and review domestic road regulations by 2017, according to the article. Before that happens, officials are set to publish guidelines for companies to test cars on the roads by this summer. These tests will put the vehicles in real-life situations, and qualified drivers will be in the cars just in case they’re needed.
Driverless cars offer many benefits, and many agree they can help reduce the number of traffic accidents and injuries that happen each year, making driving safer and less stressful.