Self-driving cars take to UK streets for first public road tests

by admin October 12, 2016 at 1:35 am

Self-driving car startup and Oxford spinoff Oxbotica put a modified Renault car with autonomous driving tech on UK roads for the first time, in a trial in England’s Milton Keynes at a very slow 5 miles per hour. It’s a tentative start, but it’s a start nonetheless, as the car handled cornering and breaking for pedestrians all on its own.

The test is the result of British government encouragement in autonomous tech development, according to Reuters, with the ultimate aim of fielding self-driving cars in real-world use by 2020. Part of the goal of starting slow is to help gain public trust before proceeding to more difficult tests, according to one of the program organizers, and paving the way for even this humble beginning involved getting buy-in from local lawmakers via comprehensive mapping of the entire town, and running safety planning sessions with local council members.