Automakers have introduced a series of technological breakthroughs to provide more effective and automated driving experiences. For example, the UK government recently unveiled a £1.5 million ($2.5 million) project to design and manufacture a range of driverless vehicles, which will become operational in a UK city center.
The project aims to use autonomous pods on specially designated pathways throughout Milton Keynes. By 2015, the government plans to created and integrate a batch of 20 pods, each capable of accommodating two passengers, which will be operated on lanes alongside pedestrian areas. These lanes would be installed between the Milton Keynes railway station and the city center.
Following the trial of these 20 pods, the government plans to launch 100 pods by 2017. They will run at a maximum speed of 12 mph and will use intricate sensors to avoid obstacles and collisions, thus providing a safe and efficient method of public transportation.
Collaborators for the project include the engineering firm Arup and Cambridge and Oxford universities. The technology used to design and manufacture the pods may eventually be extended to cars on major roads. Pods at Heathrow Airport already make it easier for passengers to travel between terminals and car parks.
The ability to provide safe and effortless transportation for the general public has spurred the government to consider implementing the pods as part of a national campaign to make and test low-carbon technologies. Automakers are making a concerted effort to produce cars with lower carbon emissions. Jardine Motors and Mazda are leading the effort in the UK.
These driverless pods symbolize the next stage of environmentally beneficial transportation. Moreover, the production and distribution of these vehicles provide lucrative economical benefits for Britain by keeping the nation at the forefront of automotive design while securing 30,000 jobs in engine production.
The popularity of driverless vehicles can be witnessed on a global scale. In America, Google's self-driving cars have driven more than 300,000 miles of road tests without an accident. Moreover, Google has been granted a full driving license in Nevada for its autonomous cars. Similarly, Nissan carried out its first public road test of a self-driving vehicle last fall on a Japanese highway.
Bradley Taylor is a freelancer with a passion for supercars and luxury auto brands such as Ferrari, Rolls Royce, and Bugatti. You can connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.