The UK is allowing testing for self-driving cars. For three years, the UK’s “Autodrive” trial includes manufacturers such as Ford, Jaguar, and Tata, who are seeking to overcome technical issues in the near future. For now, the experiments are showing that autonomous cars need human drivers behind the wheel to assist when the vehicle becomes confused.
One cars’ programming could not tell the difference between leaves blowing in the wind and moving objects. To some vehicles, clouds seem solid. The Tata didn’t back up to make room for a parallel parker; instead, it moved forward. These glitches mean that the trials are working by pointing out areas of improvement.
The UK’s Code of Conduct for testing vehicles has set a standard. Companies carefully control and monitor these trials to protect UK citizens. Autonomous cars and trucks are still in the early stages of development. However, experts predict that manufacturers are not far from selling a fully autonomous vehicle. In fact, some auto manufacturers have targeted dates for putting these semi-automatic vehicles on the road by 2020, and driverless automobiles by 2025.
Other countries are also testing the technology. The self-driving vehicles are part of long-term plans to offer transportation options in areas with growing populations.