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By Jonathan Tomlin
Oxford University has pioneered the first self-driving car on Britain’s roads.
The vehicle made its first driverless journey on a private road at the Begbroke Science Park.
The project is the result of a partnership involving Nissan Motors, the defense firm BAE and Oxford University. The government has given £2 million of funding to the research project so far.
The prototype vehicle is a converted military BAE wildcat Jeep. Laser technology onboard scans the cars surroundings forty times a second and can measure the cars on road position to within a centimeter. The car is equipped with both radars and cameras, which enable it to assess the terrain it travels through.
The research could eventually transform road safety by helping to develop marketable cars that would reduce road accidents caused by human error.
Professor Paul Newman of Oxford University, the project leader, said: “We waste so much of our time driving when we could be doing other things and improving our quality of life.”
Self-driving cars could soon be doing test runs in Oxford City center and Woodstock. Researchers plan to apply for a license from the government to test the cars on open roads in the local area in the next two months. The presence of two operators in the vehicle would be a legal requirement during road testing, in case of emergency. A University spokesperson said: “It is possible that it could be driving around Oxford later this year.”