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Driverless cars set to invade four UK cities in 2015

At the start of next year, four cities across the UK will begin trialling driverless cars funded by Innovate UK, as we move slowly but steadily towards the future of autonomous vehicles.

Self-driving motors will be tootling (we can’t imagine they’ll be speeding) around Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, starting from January 2015, Techie News spotted.

The multiple projects include the £8 million GATEway project at Greenwich, which will feature zero emission automated vehicles in what Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, called a “fantastic coup” that “demonstrates [Greenwich’s] growing reputation as one of the UK’s leading locations for Smart City innovation.”

The Coventry and Milton Keynes schemes are part of the £20 million UK Autodrive project, which will carry out real-world tests on roads, as well as looking into and developing the insurance and legal side of driverless cars.

Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive Project Director, Arup, said: "The UK Autodrive consortium brings together world-class expertise that will help the UK position itself as a leader in the development and adoption of autonomous driving technologies."

"As well as developing and testing the in-car, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technologies that will be required to drive cars autonomously on our roads in the future, the project will also place great emphasis on the role and perceptions of drivers, pedestrians and other road users."

And finally, in Bristol the Venturer consortium will be heading up the fourth project, which will again explore issues such as insurance for driverless cars as well as testing the vehicles themselves.

Business Secretary Vince Cable commented: “The UK is a world-leader in the development of driverless technology, and today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to city streets from 1 January. This not only puts us at the forefront of this transformational technology but it also opens up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

With Amazon reportedly soon to start testing drones in Cambridge, it seems that the UK isn’t too far behind the States in terms of developing the next generation of transport.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.