UK government has said that driver-free-cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year.
To this end, the government has ordered a review of the UK’s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines that will accommodate the development. It also invited cities to compete to host one of three trials of the robotic cars, which would start at the same time.
UK cities wanting to host one of the trials have been told that they have the first week of October to declare their interests.
The tests are then intended to run for between 18 to 36 months.
A £10m fund has been created to cover their costs, with the sum to be divided between the three winners.
UK engineers, including a group at the University of Oxford, have been experimenting with driverless cars. But, concerns about legal and insurance issues have so far restricted the machines to private roads.
Other countries have, however, been swifter to provide access to public routes.
The US States of California, Nevada and Florida have all approved tests of the vehicles. In California alone, Google’s driverless car has done more than 300,000 miles on the open road.
In 2013, Nissan carried out Japan’s first public road test of an autonomous vehicle on a highway.
In Europe, the Swedish city of Gothenburg has given Volvo permission to test 100 driverless cars – although that trial is not scheduled to occur until 2017.