UK to test driverless cars on public roads before the end of 2013

While Americans have seen a few driverless cars on the open road, their British counterparts have had to settle for demos on private circuits. They'll get a better glimpse soon, though, as the UK Department for Transport now expects tests on public streets by the end of 2013. The initial trial runs will be gentle -- Oxford University's Nissan Leaf-based RobotCars will drive only on lightly trafficked roads, with humans tagging along in the event of a crisis. We haven't yet seen a timetable for more aggressive experiments, but we're not exactly in a hurry to compete with early autonomous cars during rush hour.

[Image credit: Oxford University]

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UK to test driverless cars on public roads before the end of 2013