Volvo plans to put real drivers in 100 driverless cars in China and have them report back on the experience, as part of its focus to make its vehicles 'death proof' by 2020.
The experiment, however, has not yet been approved by the authorities and does not have a trial start date.
Britain, on the other hand, is already gearing up to host a trial of driverless lorries on a secluded stretch of the M6 in Cumbria later this year.
This platoon of heavy goods vehicles, which will take to the motorway is a glimpse into the future of transportation. These HGVs will be synchronised which means they will stop and start in tandem, and drive closer together, so they will ease the congestion on busy motorways.
Because these lorries drive in huddles, they also have reduced air resistance, and a saving on fuel.
The greatest obstacle for the automotive industry has been the lack of clear guidance on national regulations when testing. In America, for example only eight out of 50 states permit road testing these vehicles.
And out of these eight, only four have actual laws regulating autonomous vehicles, each of which will an array of specific requirements, making it challenging to lay down one universal set of rules and regulations.
Britain is very appealing as a testbed. While countries such as the US, Japan and Germany continue to compete to accelerate the commercial acceptance of autonomous transport, Britain has already developed a national consensus and regulatory roadmap that other countries lack.
UK law permits testing in a wide range of locations up and down the country and it has shown its commitment to continued research and development in this area with a £250million investment in infrastructure and R&D over the next five years.
According to UK regulations, driverless vehicle tests can be carried out anywhere within the UK without the need for a special permit.
This 'test anywhere' advantage is proving to be hugely appealing to a number of major players in the driverless car industry such as Nissan, Jaguar and even Google, who all want their prototypes tested on real-life working roads.
Posted : 2016-04-13
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