According to a report released by the Department for Transport, semi-autonomous vehicles will be tested on the UK roads by the end of this year.
The University of Oxford researchers have joined hands with Nissan to develop semi-autonomous vehicles, which although will have a driver present, will be able of “driving fully independently, using knowledge of the environment in which they are driving,” according to the report. The testing of the vehicles on the UK roads is expected to begin later this year.
“While the emergence of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles will not remove the need for investment now in our roads, they have the potential to transform the way we travel on roads,” according to the Department for Transport report.
Although there is interest, both from the automakers and their systems suppliers, to develop fully-autonomous vehicles, this will depend on the progress made in ensuring the public safety, but also if the new laws will take into account this new technology.
Google and several US states, such as Nevada, Florida and California, have already began testing self-driving vehicles, but the technology has not been yet authorized to be used by the public for general driving, said the US Department of Transportation. NHTSA recommended the states requires the vehicles to be tested to have a person licensed to drive self-driving cars in the driver’s seat.
The licensed driver should “be available at all times in order to operate the vehicle in situations in which the automated technology is not able to safely control the vehicle,” NHTSA said.