Driverless Cars Set to Be Tested in Four Cities

Four English cities have been named as the locations to test driverless cars.

Greenwich, Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes are the chosen cities and will each host a project of their own.

The decision was announced by George Osborne after his Autumn Statement. The Chancellor also announced an extra £9m in funding for the work - adding to the £10m that had been announced in July.

Greenwich will run the Gateway scheme, and will be led by the Transport Research Laboratory consultancy - which also involves General Motors and the AA and RAC motoring associations.

Bristol will host the Venturer consortium, which aims to investigate whether or not driverless cars can reduce congestion and make roads safer.

Members of the project include the assurance group Axa, and much of their focus will be on the public reactions to the tech, as well as the legal and insurance implications of its introduction. Their plan is to carry out tests of automated passenger shuttle vehicles as well as autonomous valet parking for adapted cars.

The firm's chief executive Rob Wallis said: "The combination of TRL's independent expertise; robust, reliable testing protocols and driving simulation facilities alongside the diverse and high calibre qualities of our consortium means we can safely demonstrate automated vehicles to build acceptance and trust in this revolutionary technology."

Coventry and Milton Keynes will host the UK Autodrive programme, which involves Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and the engineering consultancy Arup.

Tim Armitage from Arup said: "Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads."

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