The United Kingdom government announced today, Wednesday, that the first types of self-driving cars could run on British roads by the end of 2021, paving the way to start catching up with the United States and other countries.
And the Ministry of Transport said on Wednesday that it has determined how vehicles equipped with an automated lane-keeping system can be legally defined as self-driving.
Such systems, which were first used in Japan, could help the car stay in its lane in slow traffic across the highways while allowing the driver to take his hands off the steering wheel.
The UK Minister of Transport hailed the announcement as a major step towards the safe use of self-driving cars in the UK, adding that it could make future journeys easier and more reliable.
The government said: The use of vehicles equipped with an automatic lane-keeping system is limited to speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour across British highways, which means that they are used only in heavy traffic.
This move could pave the way for fully self-driving cars in the future.
Subsequent amendments to the regulations could allow for an increase in speeds to 130 kilometers per hour, along with more complex maneuvers, such as changing lanes and overtakes and engaging the system on fully mixed public roads.
Subsequent modifications are supposed to be even more important in allowing safe automated driving during long and complex journeys, allowing consumers to read, chat, use their devices, etc. while driving.
Autonomous driving systems could prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.
The government said autonomous driving technology could help reduce congestion in urban areas where traffic lights and vehicles would be able to talk to each other.
She added that connected and autonomous vehicle technology could create about 38,000 new jobs, and the industry could grow to 42 billion pounds ($ 58 billion) by 2035.