Driverless cars will be trialled in three UK cities come January 2015

The government has officially announced that self-driving cars will be on public UK roads come the start of next year.

As we reported yesterday, the expected announcement that January 2015 will herald the arrival of driverless vehicles came through, with Vince Cable revealing the details.

According to the Beeb, Cable said that this move "will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society."

The Highway Code and UK road regulations will need to be reviewed first though, with the autonomous cars being taken into account.

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Trialling of the vehicles will start next January, and will apparently run from 18 months to three years, with three cities set to host the trials. Which ones? Well, that hasn't been decided yet, and interested cities must apply to take part before October, with the selected locations to receive a share of £10 million funding to facilitate the testing.

Google has been testing its own driverless cars in California and Nevada for some time now, with no apparent mishaps. The software driving the vehicles obviously has to be tailored for navigating the specific area, and doubtless that will be one of the expenses the £10 million will cover.

Baidu, the Chinese search giant, is also following in Google's footsteps with a car that isn't driverless, but is "highly autonomous" and maintains all the traditional controls (steering, brakes, etc) so the driver can step in and take over at any point. That may be a slightly less scary prospect for some folks.

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