Driverless cars are coming to the UK after Highways England revealed plans to test the new technology on motorways in 2017.

Chancellor George Osborne pledged in his March Budget that the nation would hold such trials and the agency has elaborated upon that in its ‘innovation’ strategy.

It also set out goals for testing connected vehicles with a view to managing traffic flow and road network maintenance, therefore facilitating economic growth.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “We’re committed to using innovation to benefit the millions of journeys made on England’s Strategic Road Network today and in the future.

“We will work with our partners in the supply chain, technology specialists and the automotive industry to trial new technologies that will help make journeys on our roads safer, more reliable and better informed.

“This will involve supporting trials of better connected and autonomous vehicles on our motorways by the end of next year, testing radar technology to better detect breakdowns and trialling fuel price signs on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter.”

The £150 million scheme will include trials of a ‘wi-fi road’ on the A2 and M2 in London and Kent which connects adapted cars wirelessly with the transport infrastructure to warn them of road closures or congestion.

There will also be a trial of Internet of Things sensors, providing information about road condition and bridge and tunnel infrastructure.

Acoustic technology in the Hindhead tunnel on the A3 in Surrey will also monitor traffic movement.

“Innovation is absolutely critical to our £15 billion investment plan for roads,” said roads minister Andrew Jones.

“A more reliable road network is good news for motorists and good news for the economy.

“Quicker, safer roads will improve access to jobs and opportunities.

“Placing Britain at the forefront of innovation and research in this area will also create more jobs and investment.”

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