Self-driving cars could hit UK roads as early as 2025

Self-driving cars, lorries and large buses with self-driving capabilities could be on UK motorways next year under plans announced on Friday, with fully self-driving cars on the roads by 2025. may appear.

The Ministry of Transport, with an investment worth £100 million, policy paper It said the self-driving car industry could create up to 38,000 jobs and add £42bn to the UK economy.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shaps said: Not only can it improve people’s access to education and other vital services, but the industry itself can create tens of thousands of job opportunities across the country. Most importantly, it is expected to reduce the risk of driver error in road collisions and make roads safer. “

DfT said vehicles capable of driving themselves on highways could be on sale by next year, and fully self-driving buses and delivery vans could hit the roads by 2025.

The government said it believed self-driving technology would improve road safety by helping those who have not learned how to drive, the elderly and those with disabilities, and removing the element of human error. Unlike humans, computers don’t suffer from fatigue or poor concentration.

The DfT said £34m will be allocated to research into how driverless cars perform in bad weather and how they interact with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.

“Possibility to revolutionize people’s lives”

Commerce Secretary Kwasi Kwartengu said:

R1 unmanned delivery vehicle
An undated photo of Nuro’s R1 driverless delivery van full of Kroger groceries as it began testing in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2018. (Kroger/Reuters)

In June, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee announced it would launch an investigation into the potential impact of self-driving cars on UK roads.

Many modern cars are already equipped with driver-first automatic emergency braking systems and other forms of ‘driving assistance’, but last month the British Drivers’ Union told the government it would not do more. , called for mandatory Intelligent Speed ​​Assistance (ISA) technology. on all UK cars.

Some versions of ISA will bypass the driver and automatically slow down the car if he exceeds the speed limit.

AA Chairman Edmund King welcomed the government’s initiative, saying: It is important for governments to investigate how these vehicles interact with other road users on different roads and changing weather conditions.

“But the ultimate prize is worth pursuing in terms of saving thousands of lives and improving mobility for the elderly and people with limited mobility,” he added.

Mercedes, General Motors, Amazon, Google and many others are testing self-driving cars. Tesla said earlier this year that automated car navigation software is one of its main priorities.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.