Testing on public roads in three cities in the UK begins in January 2015.
Two types of testing will commence: fully autonomous cars without a driver, and with a qualified driver who could take control at any time.
Ben “The Stig” Collins calls the prospect “terrifying.”
If the idea of kicking back behind the wheel and letting a robot take you where you need to go is appealing, then the United Kingdom may be the place for you. Beginning in January of 2015, the UK has authorized testing of fully autonomous cars on public roadways.
The Technology Strategy Board will select three cities to host driverless car trials. Each test is scheduled to last between 18 and 36 months starting in January. Companies interested in testing need to have applications in by October 1, 2014.
“Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network – they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2,” said transport minister Claire Perry in a quote in the London Guardian.
Ben Collins — who was the original “Stig” on the UK version of Top Gear begged to differ, calling the prospect of driverless cars “terrifying,” in an interview with the UK’s ITV network. “[R]obots are fantastic as dishwashers but they don’t make very good drivers”, he noted, following the announcement that driverless cars will be allowed on British roads from January 2015.
Collins suggested there were too many things that could go wrong with autonomous vehicles to make them a legitimate replacement for human control of cars.