The UK will be testing driverless cars within the next year, starting with a small group of 20 automated cars that drive on specific routes, have a speed cap of 12 miles per hour and only carry two people. The limitations make sense as this kind of testing needs to be safe to do in public and while 12 miles per hour might be slower than just driving yourself, this project is meant for pedestrians making it a lot faster than walking.
These new cars will use sensors to avoid collisions but we don't know if it will actually dodge people, so if you get stuck on a busy walkway you might be better off getting out of your little pod and stretching your legs a bit. This first wave of cars is costing the government £1.5 million and if all goes well, we'll be seeing 100 automated cars by 2017.
The video below shows a mockup of how the system will eventually work. You'll book a car through an app on your phone and then once you're in the pod there will be a screen giving you access to the Internet and other forms of entertainment.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “By 2050, very few – if any – new cars will be powered solely by the traditional internal combustion engines, so it is important that the UK car industry is at the cutting edge of low carbon technologies.”[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGIsvLpdF-g']
If you're wondering what the first route will be then The Guardian has you covered. It reported that the first route will take you from Milton Keynes train station to a shopping centre approximately 20 minutes away.
Obviously this will come at a price, nothing cool is ever free even in the testing stages. While no exact price is set yet, there is speculation that it'll be around the £2 mark.
KitGuru Says: The way I see it, the world is either going to turn out like I Robot, The Matrix or Watch Dogs, take your pick because it's happening. However, before then at least we can enjoy not having to drive or walk anywhere.