Self-driving car trials are to continue in the UK despite mounting concerns over safety after an Uber autonomous vehicle struck and killed a US pedestrian in Arizona this week. The country's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, pushed ahead with trials of its autonomous vehicles in the Midlands yesterday despite warnings that the public are being treated like'human guinea pigs' during driverless car tests. The trial, launched less than 48 hours after the fatal accident on Sunday, is believed to be the first time a self-driving car has been used on open, public roads. The firm is expected to demonstrate more of the cars' features, including an emergency braking system, on urban streets in further tests this week. Britain's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, pushed ahead with trials of its autonomous vehicles (file photo) in the Midlands yesterday despite warnings that the public are being treated like'human guinea pigs' during driverless car tests A self-driving Range Rover Sport drove itself through the centre of Milton Keyes on Tuesday before parking and driving off again, as part of a government-backed trial.
In 2021 the UK government intends the country to be well on its way to a driverless future. No, not a cheap joke about Brexit -- yesterday it announced a three-year regulatory review to "pave the way for self-driving cars". The law review meshes with that goal, though the government is clearly giving itself a very tight timetable for resolving regulatory complications and passing the necessary legislation. The myriad technological challenges of ensuring autonomous vehicles can operate safety and efficiently in all weather conditions are really just one portion of the challenge here. Other major barriers include things like public acceptance of self-driving technology, and liability and insurance complications that arise once you remove human drivers from the mix -- raising questions like how do you apportion blame when something goes wrong?
Driverless cars will be on Britain's roads by 2021 as a result of sweeping regulatory reforms that will put the UK in the forefront of a post-Brexit technological revolution, chancellor Philip Hammond will say this week. In his budget on Wednesday Hammond will allow driverless cars to be tested without any human operator inside or outside the car, and without the legal constraints and rules that apply in many other EU nations, and much of the US.
Slowly, the UK government is realising its dream of making the nation a self-driving research hub. UK Autodrive, a publicly funded consortium that includes Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and TATA Motors, has announced a new set of trials in Coventry today. They will focus on self-driving cars and vehicles that can instantly share information with other motorists and city infrastructure. Researchers will be testing a signal, for instance, that can be sent out by the emergency services -- ambulances, fire trucks and police cars -- to nearby drivers, advising them when and where to move aside.
Tesla is set to launch its first electric lorry, which is expected to be able to drive itself, in late October as the company attempts to break into the commercial market. Chief executive Elon Musk said that the "Tesla Semi truck" is "tentatively scheduled" for unveiling and first test rides one month behind schedule on 26 October in Tesla's hometown of Hawthorne, California. It's unreal," said Musk on Twitter. The commercial trucking industry appears interested in Musk's proposed battery-powered heavy-duty vehicle, which can compete with conventional diesels and travel up to 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel. But analysts remain sceptical that battery technology, which takes up significantly more volume and is heavier than conventional fuels, is capable of matching diesel as a power source without reducing the truck's maximum payload.