The UK’s science minister has said that technology to develop self-driving cars, such as the concept Google unveiled in May, can be developed in Britain, but legislation will have to adapt.
Google’s new driverless electric car has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal, and instead works with GPS technology that recognises places, people and objects.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Conservative MP David Willetts said that UK technology would try to compete with Google’s and that it was discussing ways to collaborate with the Department of Transport.
“There is British technology, and it’s a lot cheaper than the Google technology”, he said.
“But whereas the Google car, they have notched up more miles, so we have got to ensure that the British has its own opportunity to get tested in a wider range of environments and that’s what we are working on with the department for transport.”
It has also been suggested that the government provide £10m for a town or city to be developed as a test site for consumers who wants to test driverless cars.
Meanwhile, Willets added that the UK would have to modify its Highway Code in order to cope with the driverless technology.
“What America is going to have is a legal regime in California that permits you to travel in one without requiring someone in the so-called drivers seat,” he said.
“Certainly there are new regulations being drafted in California and obviously this is something I have discussed with the Department for Transport, we are aware of it.
“We need to work on these types of regulations so that as the technology develops in Oxford and elsewhere we can see them used.”