Driverless cars feel pretty far away to us in the UK, as both Uber and Google are testing their own versions of the tech on the other side of the Atlantic. But finally, Britain is about to receive its own taste of the technology.
The UK government has just backed a group of organisations that want to test driverless cars in London. The Departments for Business and Transport have allocated £12.8 million to a consortium which will research and trial the tech in the city.
FiveAI, the company heading the project, is an expert in artificial intelligence. The firm's currently developing its own "autonomous vehicle software stack" to enable "safe, cost effective urban mobility for all".
FiveAI is teaming up with Direct Line, Transport for London and the Transport Research Laboratory to deliver the autonomous system.
They plan to deliver driverless cars which can be called via an app, like an Uber ride, by late 2019. 10 electric cars will be used in the trial, which will be conducted in South London.
"It's about delivering to the consumer an autonomous Uber-type service in London," FiveAI's chief executive Stan Boland told The Telegraph.
"It's insane for people to buy a car and then leave it parked for 94% of the time and only have one user per car. In the future, vehicles can be shared."
The UK government says it wants the country to be at the forefront of driverless car tech.
Another group of organisations has received £13m from the government to create a driverless car service between London and Oxford.
That project is being led by Oxbotica of the Oxford Robotics Institute – the company is already testing driverless pods in the capital, with the aim of making full-length journeys between London and Oxford in 2019.
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