From roundabouts to motorways: The driverless car let loose on UK roads

A 230 mile road trip across the UK's most complex routes is set to be completed by a fully autonomous car.

Over the next few weeks, the HumanDrive project car will head off on a journey, driving itself along a pre-planned route in all traffic conditions -

on anything from motorways and roundabouts to winding country lanes and back streets.

The project aims to teach the car to drive more like a human - so that passengers feel more comfortable on board.

James Brighton is a Professor of Automotive Engineering at Cranfield University.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES BRIGHTON, PROFESSOR OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING, CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY SAYING:

"There are certain elements of human driving that are very desirable as well as a lot of elements that are very undesirable. We're clearly not trying to characterize the undesirable elements of human driving because you are exactly correct that is the very aim of autonomy, to try to remove the elements of driving behavior that we do not wish for, that we do not find socially acceptable."

An extra layer of Artificial Intelligence, which still under development, will give the car the ability to behave like a normal driver.

So it can reacting to common driving situations in a human-like manner, says Foroogh Hajiseyedjavadi.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FOROOGH HAJISEYEDJAVADI, RESEARCH FELLOW, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS SAYING:

"Right now AV (autonomous vehicle) controllers are acting so rigid and they are acting so robotic so our goal is to see whether we can have the AV drive like, speed up and slow down, decelerate and accelerate and do manoeuvres around the curves, around obstacles on the road in a smoother way."

The team are assisted by a group volunteers who help them emulate how drivers behave on the road and respond to the vehicle.