Mr. Bean may not have been such a simpleton after all. In one of the episodes of the British TV series, Mr. Bean devised a way by which his car drove itself while he lounged on its roof. This isn’t too far fetched from our reality as self-driving cars would be legal in the United Kingdom starting from January 2015 although it might take a while before commuters would be able to use them.
Business secretary, Vince Cable, stated that cities in the UK can apply to become test-driving centers for the driverless cars but only three cities would selected. The cities will receive a £10 million stipend (about N2.5 billion) to be divided equally among them. Information on the companies who would manufacture the cars has not yet been released.
The University of Oxford as well as some other teams of engineers has conducted several controlled experiments with self-driving cars on private roads. The UK government is planning a funded test for self-driving cars which would last for about 18 to 36 months. This would be the first time such would be done on public roads.
“Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network — they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2. We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfill this potential, which is why we are actively reviewing regulatory obstacles to create the right framework for trialling these vehicles on British roads.” Claire Perry, the transport minister stated.
In 2017 Milton Keynes, a city in north London, would be granted a hundred self-driving cars for test driving. Trust the USA not to be left out of this giant stride in innovation; Florida, California and Nevada have been approved as test driving centers. Some centers have also been created in Sweden and Japan. Not surprisingly, Google’s self-driving cars have been spotted at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California and Toyota joined the gang with its own set of driverless cars.