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Driverless-car tests start in 4 cities

2015-02-11 12:09

END IN SIGHT FOR COMMUTING STRESS. A more pleasant way to go anywhere seems to be coming closer - totally hands-free motoring. Image: Shutterstock.

LONDON, England - Brake, a UK road-safety charity, has hailed today’s launch (11 February) of three driverless vehicle trials as an exciting step towards a safer, more sustainable future for UK road travel and a long-term goal of ending needless road deaths.

The trials are being launched in Greenwich – location of the GATEway trial – by transport minister Claire Perry alongside publication of a department for transport report setting out the pathway for the widespread introduction of the technology.

PREDICTED BENEFITS

The trials, being led by three consortia and supported by government funding, are taking place in Greenwich, Bristol, and a combined project split between Milton Keynes and Coventry. They will last from 18-36 months and will assess how driverless vehicles function in everyday life on public roads and their scope for making road travel safer and more sustainable.

The trials will look at how the technology can be used to improve public and private transport in busy and complex road environments.

Predicted benefits of the technology include:

  • Reducing 94% of road deaths and injuries that involve human error
  • Saving six working weeks the average UK driver would spend driving
  • Providing better access to sustainable, low-cost transport for everybody, including non-drivers.

Brake’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, will be serving on the advisory group for the Greenwich trial. It's known as the GATEway Project and is led by the transport research laboratory.

Townsend said: "We know from research that the most tragedies are caused by human error and risk-taking so this technology could be a critical move towards preventing them.

"Driverless vehicles could transform the way we use roads through helping to ensure that everybody can get around safely, sustainably and affordably while making communities more pleasant and sociable.”

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