The UK driverless car market is set to increase over the next few years with the UK government providing a £10 million fund for testing these vehicles. Google, Nissan, Tesla Motors, Daimler and Nissan are already testing vehicles with significant success. These companies all have different expected dates when their technology will be seen on our public roads although it is regarded that these driverless vehicles will be seen within the next decade. Tesla Motors have publicly stated that their car will be ready by the middle of 2016.
The global market for robot cars is forecast to total £3.6 billion by 2019 as governments and enterprises invest in this new technology. The benefits of driverless cars which park and drive themselves is significant, transforming our cities and towns with the reduced necessity for parking, greater driving efficiency and increased capacity on our existing road networks. Governments are keen to introduce the technology for both environmental and social benefits.
The robot cars market has seen a step change in development over recent years with the testing of restricted self-driving cars already been undertaken in restricted conditions. Autonomous vehicle implementation involves a number of phases and levels. Level 2 represents the current state of art for new vehicle models and provides limited automation such as steering, braking and lane guidance. This new technology is available on some new vehicles. Coordinated platooning is the next stage and is currently technically feasible but requires vehicle-to-vehicle communications capability and dedicated lane to maximise safety. Level 3 stage of automation is restricted self-driving and is currently being tested. Google experimental cars have already driven hundreds of thousands of miles in self-drive mode under restricted conditions and the UK government announced in December 2013 that a total of £10 million will be made available to fund a test-bed for self-driving cars in the UK. Milton Keynes is already experimenting with driverless pods and it is planned by the middle of 2017 that 100 fully autonomous vehicles will run on Milton Keynes’ pathways along with pedestrians, using sensors to avoid collisions.
Google has been testing driverless cars for the last two years and recently completed 500,000 miles of road tests. In addition, California, Nevada and Florida have passed legislation to allow for driverless cars. The race towards the full implementation of this driverless technology has started and Nissan has also publically tested a driverless car on a Japanese highway.
Vehicle manufacturers have already estimated that driverless cars will be on the roads within the decade. Tesla Motors have even stated that their cars will be on the road by 2016 with Google stating 2017 as the likely date for their vehicles. Daimler and Nissan have reported an introductory date of 2020 for their own versions of driverless vehicles.
For more information on the robot cars market, see the latest research: Robot Cars Market
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