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­.k. to Allow Driverless Cars on Public Roads in January

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Google's self-driving car, interior

Google's self-driving car combines video and sensor data to determine where to steer.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) has announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads starting in January 2015, and the government has invited cities to compete to host one of three trials of the new technology. Government ministers also have called for a review of the U.K.'s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines. "Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society," says U.K. Department of Transport business secretary Vince Cable.

Although University of Oxford researchers have been experimenting with driverless cars, concerns about legal and insurance issues have restricted the technology to private roads. U.K. cities wanting to host one of the trials, which are expected to run for 18 to 36 months, have until the start of October to declare their interest. The trials will examine how the rules should apply to vehicles in which the driver can take back control at short notice, and how they should apply to vehicles in which there is no driver.

Meanwhile, the state governments of California, Nevada, and Florida have all approved tests of driverless cars.

From BBC News
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