LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it wanted a widespread rollout of self-driving vehicles on roads by 2025, announcing plans for new laws and 100 million pounds ($119.09 million) of funding.
The government said it wanted to take advantage of the emerging market for autonomous vehicles, which it valued at 42 billion pounds and estimated could create 38,000 new jobs.
“We want the UK to be at the forefront of developing and using this fantastic technology, and that is why we are investing millions in vital research into safety and setting the legislation to ensure we gain the full benefits that this technology promises,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
While some vehicles with self-driving features could be allowed on large roads by next year, Friday’s announcement also set out the framework for a much wider rollout, including for public transport and delivery vehicles.
The funding package included 35 million pounds for safety research, which would feed into new legislation planned to be in place by 2025.
“The legislation would state manufacturers are responsible for the vehicle’s actions when self-driving, meaning a human driver would not be liable for incidents related to driving while the vehicle is in control of driving,” a government statement said.
($1 = 0.8397 pounds)
(Reporting by William James, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)