UK's First Public Driverless Car Trial to Kick Off in Milton Keynes Today

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

And so it begins. Driverless car trials in the UK begin today with University of Oxford spinout Oxbotica in Milton Keynes. Proper trials. With proper potential for danger.

It’s a moment of enormous significance, and Brits who can’t legally drive (such as myself), will be paying particularly close attention to proceedings.

Oxbotica and the Oxford Robotics Institute have mapped Milton Keynes’ grid roads, and its rather cute two-person pods should be ready to navigate them safely. They’ll use the data gathered from cameras and Lidar to whizz around pedestrianised areas without guidance from human hands and feet.

“Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment,” said business and energy secretary Greg Clark. “The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms and the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles.”

It’s hoped that driverless cars will start rolling out in the UK from 2020, though a number of serious concerns, such as where the responsibility for a crash lies, have been raised by recent incidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot system. [Reuters]

Image: Duong Cong Minh via Flickr