UK’s first driverless car trial kicks off in Milton Keynes

PHOTO: Jane Russell
PHOTO: Jane Russell

Milton Keynes gets the first glimpse of self-driving vehicles hitting the streets today.

The trials involve carrying passengers while the cars operate entirely without human control.

PHOTO: Jane Russell

PHOTO: Jane Russell

Transport Systems Catapult, which is behind the tests, says the primary aim is to make vehicles safer.

Business and energy secretary, Greg Clark said: “Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment.

“The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms and the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles.”

The driverless cars were unveiled in Milton Keynes earlier this year and council leader Peter Marland checked out the new vehicles.

PHOTO: Jane Russell

PHOTO: Jane Russell

The cars will be tested today before a fleet of 40 pods comes into operation by the end of 2017.

They are being built by RDM Group, one of the UK’s fastest growing advanced engineering companies, and will be equipped with sensor and navigation technology provided by the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group.

Peter Marland said: “I am delighted to be representing Milton Keynes, a city that is fast establishing itself as one of the global leaders in transport innovation and smart mobility.

“The world will be watching as we move to the forefront of technology, bringing great benefits to our residents who will be able to use this cheaper, convenient and more environmentally aware mode of transport to make bespoke journeys.”