News ID: 204574
Published: 1011 GMT November 19, 2017

UK Green light for driverless car testing

UK Green light for driverless car testing

The testing of driverless cars on UK roads is expected to be given the green light in Wednesday's Budget.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will announce regulation changes to allow developers to apply to test the vehicles, BBC wrote.

Writing in the Sun, he said investment would ‘prepare the ground’ for the cars to be on roads by 2021.

Hammond is also reportedly planning to announce proposals to build 300,000 new homes in the UK a year, as well as extra money for National Health Service (NHS) nurses' pay.

The announcement comes after the UK's biggest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, began testing driverless cars on public roads.

The trials, which rely on sensors that allow the cars to detect traffic, pedestrians and signals, took place in Coventry city center over several weeks.

Jaguar said a human was on board to react to emergencies.

In his article Hammond said: "This was once just an inventor's dream, but it will soon become a reality.

"We can stand by and watch this happen, or we can embrace it and take full advantage of what is in front of us.

"My Budget will include plans to make Britain a world leader in this area — the best place for developers to make and road test prototype vehicles."

The government said the industry would be worth £28 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and will support 27,000 jobs.

Labor quipped that under the Tories it would not only be the cars with no-one in the driving seat.

Investment in technology including artificial intelligence and 5G mobile networks will also be announced.

Hammond is also expected to announce:

● £75 million for artificial intelligence

● £400 million for electric car charge points

● £100 million to boost clean car purchases

● £160 million for next-generation 5G mobile networks across the UK

● £100 million for an additional 8,000 fully-qualified computer science teachers supported by a new National Centre for Computing

● A retraining partnership between the TUC (Trade Union Congress), CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the government

● £76 million to boost digital and construction skills

Funding for 5G technology will go towards the National Cyber Security Center to ensure the security of the network, as well as testing on roads to help provide the network needed for driverless cars.

A further £35 million will be used to give rail passengers reliable mobile connections and ‘lightning-speed’ internet during journeys. Trials are due to begin on the Trans-Pennine route, which connects Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

Up to £20 million will support companies using AI technology to develop services and £45 million will be used to increase the number of PhD students studying AI to 200 per year.

A further £9 million will fund an advisory body to ensure safe and ethical innovation.

The government said a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will improve access to finance for businesses to build electric car charge points and £100 million will be invested in the Plug-in Car Grant to help with the cost of buying battery-electric vehicles.

A national retraining scheme will begin, with £36 million invested in digital skills courses using AI.

Construction training programs for ground workers, bricklayers, roofers and plasterers will get £40 million.

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