UK to put self-driving cars on 200 miles of country roads

UK to put self-driving cars on 200 miles of country roads

Testing starts in the UK next year

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Pushing to get autonomous cars on the road in the next few years, the UK is launching the HumanDrive Initiative. But instead of small runs in metropolitan cities — as Waymo is doing in Phoenix and GM in New York — this will put self-driving cars on 200 miles of small roads starting in 2019.

Three car makers are involved in this trial, including Mitsubishi, Nissan and Groupe Renault, says the BBC.

Consumers may be wondering where all the self-driving cars are, given the focus on this technology in the past few years. But many companies are doubling down on getting autonomous vehicles on the roads, and soon. Waymo's agreement to buy thousands of Chrysler Pacifica minivans this year makes clear its intention to get its autonomous taxi riding service into play in Phoenix.

Waymo and GM are two brands that appear to pulling ahead of their competitors in the self-driving car race, according to California's annual report on autonomous vehicles on its roads, released this week. Both are covering exponentially more miles than any other including Nissan, Ford and BMW on California's public roads. Waymo reported it drove 352, 545 miles last year, with GM covering more than 125,000 miles. And 19 companies filed reports on their driving for 2017 — an uptick from 2016.

The UK's HumanDrive Initiative will start by having human drivers on simulators, then using that data to help first test cars on private tracks. Autonomous tests on public roads aren't expected until December of next year.

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