The driver-less pods arriving in Milton Keynes next year could be the start of the technology truly taking off
Google's self-driving cars have been driving through America for quite a while now. They have driven a combined 400,000 miles in total with the only reported incident relating to a third party's error. Google's driverless cars are electric Prius models and the technology that goes towards making self-driving vehicles possible is pushing the limits on what can be done at a commercial scale. While other manufacturers have already released some enhancements on pre-existing self-driving features, the Google cars are a step beyond this, creating entirely self-driving cars.
With the tests in America proving successful, the driverless vehicle revolution is making its way to Britain. According to an article in the Telegraph, the city of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire will be welcoming its first trial of driverless pods in 2015. 20 cars have been ordered and should they prove to be a success, the city hopes to increase this number to 100 by 2017.
At first these pods will be taking passengers from the train station to the city centre. They will initially be limited to 12mph and passengers will be able to check their emails and read the news while being taken to their destination. The pods can be booked via a smartphone app and a trip will cost £2. Instigators of the government scheme are hoping to make £1m in the first year of operation, with some of the main aims being to reduce pollution, congestion and stress.
The Verge reports that more and more car manufacturers are now looking into the possibilities of self-driving cars. While many models were tested on closed tracks at first, open roads are now becoming available for them. Google has managed to secure 25 permits to release driverless cars onto public roads in California. Other manufacturers that have successfully applied for a permit are Audi and Daimler AG-Mercedes Benz. These initial tests are essential for further trails, such as that being performed in Milton Keynes. The successes of these further trails will further highlight the possibilities for future commercial driverless cars.
Milton Keynes will be the first British city to test out the potential of these driverless cars. The manufacturers are hoping that this will significantly lower the number of accidents as over 90 per cent of car accidents are caused by human error. With the success of the google scheme, this bodes well for the future of driverless cars to be used en masse. The future of the driverless car looks very promising and the most recent developments in the car industry could be ground-breaking. The incredibly low accident rate certainly suggests that self-driving cars could be the way forward.
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