Driverless cars set to be on UK roads by January 2015

If you thought driverless cars were a thing of the future – well, you'd be right – but it seems that the first such vehicles could be on UK public roads as soon as the start of next year.

Google already has self-driving motors trundling around California and Nevada over in the States, and has had for some time, and Britain is set to catch up come January 2015, when driverless cars will hit UK streets in trials much the same as the big G is running.

Apparently the government is set to make an announcement about this later today, according to industry sources (via the Telegraph), and legislation will be introduced to make the vehicles legal. The Highway Code will also have to be updated.

Reaction has been a little mixed, as ever, and there are concerns about the safety of a self-driving car – it's certainly an area where bugged software could provoke a crash of a far nastier kind than the normal system lock-up. Recent worries highlighted by the FBI, such as the potential use of such vehicles packed with explosives as guided road-bound bombs, or getaway vehicles, probably won't have helped the driverless car's cause.

And then, of course, there are those who think it's just taking the fun out of driving.

David Bizley, technical director of the RAC, told the Telegraph: "We suspect it will be difficult for people to come to terms with giving up control of their vehicle to a computer. Many vehicles already have features such as automatic braking and it is claimed that driverless technology is able to identify hazards more effectively than a person can, but many motorists will be concerned about not being able to control the speed of their vehicle for the conditions or layout of the road."