UK to begin testing driverless cars in bid to ease congestion

Google, Stanford University, and a few other institutions have been testing driverless cars on American roads for some time now. Soon, though, the autonomous vehicle will go across the pond for their first tests on the wrong side of public roads.

The BBC reports that the British government has approved testing of driverless cars, provided a real human being is riding along in the event that things go wonky. The okay came from the Department of Transport, which included the testing as part of a 28 billion pound ($42.5 billion at today's rates) investment to combat the notorious congestion on British roads.

The appeal of driverless cars is rather easy to see on the overused UK road network. As the DoT report states, driverless cars "maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front at a set speed and without deviating from their lane – all without the driver's input." That means a smoother flow of traffic and a lower chance of accidents.

The cars will be operated by the brains at Oxford University, which had previously tested an autonomous Nissan Leaf. It's unclear whether Oxford would continue to use the Leaf, or switch to the Toyota Prius favored by Google.

And before our British readers start worrying about driverless EVs hurtling down the M1, the testing will be done on lightly used roads, only.

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