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Driverless cars will be on UK roads by 2021

(Image credit: Image Credit: Karsten Neglia / Shutterstock)

Driverless cars could be operating on UK roads within the next four years according to reports which claim a major regulations shake-up is coming.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to this week announce changes in the upcoming budget that will allow developers to apply to test their autonomous vehicles in public. 

The government's aim is to have “fully driverless cars” without the need for a safety attendant on board by 2021.  The Chancellor clarified this position and highlighted the UK's need to embrace emerging technologies to stay ahead, saying: 

“Some would say that's a bold move, but we have to embrace these technologies if we want the UK to lead the next industrial revolution.” 

When asked about the potential loss of jobs for drivers, Mr. Hammond responded that the country was unable to “hide from change” and the government was prepared to equip those affected with the skills needed to “to take up new careers.” 

Recently, the UK's largest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover began testing its own driverless cars on public roads though a human was on board at all times to respond to any emergencies that might occur. 

In addition to support for driverless cars, the Chancellor is expected to announce £75 million for artificial intelligence, £400 million for electric car charging stations, £160 million for 5G mobile networks across the UK as well as a number of funds dedicated to helping the UK remain competitive in the tech sector

Image Credit: Karsten Neglia / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.