Testing of driverless cars in four of the UK’s major cities is poised to go-ahead on Wednesday, with a series of different types of autonomous cars on show.
The self-driving vehicles have been consuming column-inches like a Panda does bamboo, largely due to their imminent arrival on the roads of blighty. That’s not mentioning the fact tech heavyweight Apple has been hotly-tipped to join it’s rival Google on the scene. The famed taxi company Uber, who’s charm and verve has given them a healthy slice of the market also announced their attention to invest in the new-found phenomenon. Plenty of commentators have offered their take on how driverless cars appear, intriguing, ghostly or otherwise and this has only injected a bit of adrenalin into the movement.
Adrenalin isn’t really a word you can use to describe the LUTZ Pathfinder – one of the vehicles creeping it’s way along UK pavements. Capable of hitting speed of upto 12mph, the vehicle uses a combination of sensors, cameras and radars to make sure it doesn’t plough through Harrods.
A shuttle-like vehicle will also debut, and has already been busy ferrying around PR-types, journalists and politico's looking to experience a dollop of the future. The project has been cited as a potential boom for Britain, with Business Secretary Vince Cable anticipating the industry to be worth £900bn in ten years and Transport Minister Claire Perry decreeing the cars have the potential to "make London’s roads safer’’
People of Milton Keynes can also celebrate as the fleet of cards will be weaving their way between concrete cows as part of their rigorous testing. The process is expected to be a long one – with estitamtions for driverless cars on roads peaking at 2030. Britain wants to be the market leader on the driverless front, and have poured £18m worth of funds into the industry. Exciting times – but don’t worry if you see one of these vehicles charging towards you King Kong style – there will be a driver present who can step-in at any time.
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