UK & World News
Driverless Cars On UK Roads By January
The government has announced plans to put driverless cars on public roads as early as January 2015.
The vehicles are guided by a system of sensors and cameras, and the trials will last between 18 and 36 months.
UK cities can now bid to host the trials, with up to three cities being selected.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: "Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society."
Transport Minister Claire Perry said: "Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK's transport network. They could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2."
But motoring groups say they are sceptical about the move.
AA president Edmund King said: "Many drivers are still resistant to change as 65% enjoy driving too much to ever want the vehicle to take over from them."
Meanwhile the RAC said: "We suspect it will be difficult for people to come to terms with giving up control of their vehicle to a computer."
The British Army already uses autonomous vehicles, supplied by automotive design specialist MIRA, which is also developing systems for civilian use.
Researchers in Oxford have also developed an autonomous car that can be controlled using an iPad.
Tim Edwards, principal engineer at MIRA, told Sky News the UK had some "very advanced technologies and some fairly unique know-how".
But he said: "Where we lag behind is actually getting the technology into some real field trials."
Trials on public roads have already been held in Japan, Singapore and Germany, and Sweden will soon follow suit.
In California, driverless cars are already road legal. Google's self-driving cars have already logged 700,000 miles.
In May, the web giant unveiled a new model - without pedals.
But the main obstacles may not be technological, but legal.
Suzie Mills, a lawyer at Ashfords, told Sky News: "That's going to be one of the areas that consumers want to know about - what does their insurance cover? Is it going to affect premiums?
"That's going to come down to clarifying exactly where responsibility sits. And that is something the government's going to need to look at and definitely insurance companies are going to want to know about."