The Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said that self-driving cars could be on British roads as early as 2026.
Harper was asked if we could be travelling “with your hands off the wheel, doing your emails, he told the BBC, “I think that’s when companies are expecting – in 2026, during that year – that we’ll start seeing this technology rolled out.”
He acknowledged that there is a “huge number of potential uses” such as making it easier for disabled people to travel and claimed that this will also “improve road safety” in the UK.
Harper said that the self-driving technology works from a roll-out in California, where cars “without a safety driver, so in full, autonomous mode” are already in use.
The Transport Secretary said, “This technology exists, it works and what we’re doing is putting in place the proper legislation so that people can have full confidence in the safety of this technology, which I think is one of the important things we’ve got to do.”
He added, “We already have a very good road safety record in Britain but there are still several thousand people a year killed on our roads.
“That could be improved.
“The final thing is, there are a lot of people who currently don’t have the opportunity to get the freedom that many of us drivers take for granted.
“For example, there are people who have disabilities, people with learning disabilities, who don’t have the same freedom that driving brings the rest of us.
“This potentially opens up a whole new world for personal freedom, getting to work, having the ability to not have to rely on other people.”