Self-Driving Cars to Hit UK Roads


Google's most anticipated new creation will cross the pond in 2015

Janet Burns
  • 1 august 2014

Settling an age-old argument, driverless cars will be navigating British streets with the steering wheel on neither side come January. Vehicles such as Google’s revolutionary self-driving car, previously restricted to private British roads, have been approved for public road testing by UK lawmakers.

Business secretary Vince Cable has announced that, in addition to joining a number of US states in allowing them public road usage, ministers have ordered a review of UK road regulations to accommodate the vehicles prior to their 2015 arrival. He praised the decision and the opportunity it provides for Britons:

The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as pioneers in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects. Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.


Cable also said a £10m fund will be made available for self-driving car research in the UK, funded jointly by the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Transport. Cities are invited to compete to be one of three selected as sites for funded testing, which will include fully autonomous cars and ones containing a driver who could, if needed, take control at any time.


Google demonstrated its prototype driverless car in late May, having built 100 of the models for testing. Bereft of steering wheels and pedals, the vehicles can currently hold two passengers each, contain a battery-powered motor and an emergency stop button, and have a top speed of 25 miles per hour. Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project, explained alongside its debut his belief that the prototype is “an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”


While Google experimented for years with transforming regular cars into self-driving ones, allowing humans to take over in case of emergency, project engineers finally decided to remove steering wheels and pedals entirely, and thus room for human error; as Urmson told the NY Times, “[w]e saw stuff that made us a little nervous.”

And road statistics, as well as this Dutch insurance add, may suggest that this was a good idea.

[h/t] The Drum

Images: Google, LA Times


Bringing Food Innovation To America's Crowded Milk Market

Mobile Today

This Startup Wants To Digitize The Loose Coins In Your Pocket

CoinOut is a new app that lets you save your extra change from cash transactions as electronic funds

Advertising Today

McDonald’s Is Accepting Trash As Currency In Exchange For Burgers

An initiative in Stockholm is trying to keep streets clean while satisfying hunger


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Culture Today

Google Is Using Virtual Paper Airplanes To Bring People Closer Together

The tech giant released an app that lets people throw their good wishes out into the world on the International Day of Peace

Advertising Today

Get Paid For Traveling In San Francisco After Rush Hour

BART Perks rewards commuters who take early or late trains by giving them extra points to trade for money

Related Expert

Stefan Sagmeister

Graphic Design Guru

Culture Today

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional "Specious Books," the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Financial Services Today

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Advertising Today

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Thanks to a new partnership between the ride sharing service and Budweiser, drunk passengers are able to receive free rides

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

Travel Today

What Happens When An Entire Airport Terminal Rebrands Itself?

JFK's Terminal 4 underwent a dramatic design facelift to guide and delight travelers

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

No search results found.