Driverless cars to be allowed on Swansea roads from next year

DRIVERLESS cars are to be allowed on public roads including in Swansea and south west Wales from next year.

Companies like Google have already made such technology famous by using such vehicles.

But the UK Government wants Britain to be at the forefront of the technology.

Measures to boost research will be announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable later.

Tests with driverless cars have so far been restricted to private roads.

MIRA, the automotive engineering firm, has tested its vehicles at an 850-acre site in the Midlands.

But the Government hopes to catch up with places like the US States of California, Nevada and Florida which have all paved the way for the vehicles to use public highways.

Google’s driverless car has done more than 300,000 miles on the open road in California.

Japan and Sweden have also made moves in this area, with 1,000 autonomous Volvos to be allowed on the roads by 2017.

Google plans to manufacture 100 self-driving vehicles. One prototype has just a stop/go button, with no steering wheel or pedals.

Toyota, Audi and Lexus have used Google’s technology, while manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and General Motors, are developing their own vehicles.

Some vehicles, such as certain models of Mercedes, already have some autonomous controls for parallel parking.

But the FBI has warned that driverless cars could be used as lethal weapons.