Driverless car trials begin in the UK

The first trials of driverless cars have begun in the UK, with the vehicles setting off in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The government announced towards the end of 2014 that trials of the self-driving cars would begin in early 2015, with Bristol, Milton Keynes, Coventry and London (Greenwich) selected as the test cities. On Wednesday 11 February the trials started, with the government keen to make the UK a hub for the new technology in the coming years.

Concerns have surrounded the vast legislative and infrastructure changes that will be required to make this vision a reality. For car dealers and car mechanics, one such implication could be the way it alters their motor trade insurance; in particular, their road risks insurance policy could need updating to provide cover when they are behind the wheel - even if they are not touching it - of a driverless car.

As trials get underway, the government has promised a full review of current legislation by the summer of 2017.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Claire Perry said: “Driverless cars are the future. I want the UK to be open-minded and embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment.”

The trials, which will cost around £19 million, will aim to "address the technical, societal and legal barriers to automated vehicles and create a world class, technology-agnostic testing environment to help deliver the future of urban mobility", the project's leader Dr Nick Reed confirmed.