Last Tuesday, a two-seater car developed by Oxford University Innovation spinout company Oxbotica was road-tested in the Southern British town of Milton Keynes. The organizer of this test hope to obtain key information from the trials, and through such road-test trials, the UK hopes to put driverless cars to real operation on roads by 2020.
"Today marks the historical moment of our towns and cities testing driverless vehicles publically for the first time", Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said. The global market of driverless cars will bring about huge opportunities to our auto and technology companies, and the tech knowhow and software nurtured by such research will be used in areas beyond driverless cars.
The two-seater car operated completely without control by man and shuttled back and forth through crowded pavements using cameras and radar data. The car is manufactured by Oxbotica with software system developed by the School of Robotics at Oxford.
Both Jaguar Range Over and Ford have participated in driverless vehicle projects in the UK, while other tech companies including Google have also been active in developing relevant technologies. However, all participants must overcome technical and legal barriers. As recent traffic accidents involving driver-assisted technology caused concerns of all in society, the responsible must be identified in similar accidents.
The British government encourages tech companies, auto manufacturers, and start-up firms to develop and test driverless car technology in the country so as to build up an industry serving the world. It is estimated that the industry will reach a scale of 900 billion Sterling pound. Earlier in the year, the UK began to solicit opinions on revising rules related to insurance and regulation of driverless cars with the hope to permit the use of driverless cars by 2020 and to allow road tests for this type of cars by next year.
The UK hopes to provide more flexible solutions than other economies while testing driverless cars. Germany has said that the country would need to install a black box in such cars, whereas various states in America have formulated different regulations specifically for driverless vehicles.