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Driverless cars on UK roads next January, but no plans yet for trials in Ireland

The RSA says Ireland is keeping an eye on international progress.

Image: Rui Vieira

FROM NEXT JANUARY driverless cars will be allowed on public roads in the UK.

But fear not our motorist and pedestrian friends across the Irish Sea, they won’t be flying around willy-nilly across the country’s highways and byways – they’ll simply be allowed on the roads in order to be trialled.

The UK government has approved a £10m fund for research into the technology, and a review of their current laws will allow the testing to take place.

The Guardian reports that two types of vehicles will be considered in that review: cars that can operate autonomously without a driver, and cars where a driver can take control of the vehicle at any time.

The government has also invited cities to apply to host driverless car trials. Three cities will be chosen and the trials will begin in January, reports the BBC.

Until now self-driving cars have only been tested on private roads in the UK.

The Road Safety Authority here said earlier this year that it would be holding a public consultation process before any decision was made on allowing self-driving cars on Irish roads.

However a spokesperson for the RSA indicated to DailyEdge.ie today that the process is not that far along yet.

Our understanding is that these vehicles are only being trialled elsewhere, it’s very early stages to be talking about their introduction in general. For now we are monitoring trials closely and keeping international developments under review.

Read: Driverless cars will make intersections so efficient it’s scary>

Read: Google envisions self-driving cars being used as ad-powered taxis>

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Emer McLysaght

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