The UK is the latest government to announce large scale investments into driverless cars and robotics. Through its infrastructure plan (pdf) the British government has indicated projected investments in the region of £375 billion ($612 billion) by public and private entities over the next decade or so to create an advanced infrastructure.
Reporting specifically on driverless cars the roadmap states:
Driverless cars are innovative technology that will change the way the world’s towns and cities look and the way people travel; they present opportunities for the British automotive industry in the manufacture of the cars and the wider science and engineering sectors in the design of towns.
To ensure that UK industry and the wider public benefit from the development of driverless cars, the government announces in the National Infrastructure Plan that it will conduct a review, reporting at the end of 2014, to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework demonstrates to the world’s car companies that the UK is the right place to develop and test driverless cars
Of course the British government are not the first to seek to be a ‘champion’ for driverless cars; Google has permission to test its autonomous cars in several states in the US. Volvo received permission to test driverless cars in Gothenburg, Sweden. Researchers are testing driverless cars in Berlin and earlier this year the French government laid out a ten year roadmap to be leaders in driverless cars, robotics and other advanced technologies.
The UK government report indicates:
This investment will support UK capabilities by funding research and its commercialisation
in priority areas such as robotics, synthetic biology and biologic medicines, regenerative
medicine, agricultural technologies, the exploitation of space, high performance computing and big data analytics.
In its efforts to establish itself as a leading player in autonomous and furthermore, environmentally friendly, cars, the UK Government would be well advised to woo Tesla Motors to set up a European manufacturing facility in the UK. Tesla, who have also announced their plans for an autonomous car, has one of the most advanced robotic factories and electric cars available today.
- Sebastian Thrun: Google’s driverless car (robotonomics.wordpress.com)