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Starting next year, driverless cars will be allowed on roads in the United Kingdom. The government has just passed a law allowing the cars to begin real world testing, starting in January 2015. Government officials will also be reviewing existing road regulations, as they will need to be adjusted for driverless cars. 

Three UK cities will be able to host the driverless trials, which will last between 18 and 36 months. There is a fund of almost 17 million USD set aside for the costs of the trial. The cities have until October to announce their interest, and then testing can begin early next year. 

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."

A group of engineers have already begun testing the vehicles on private roads. However, on public roads they will be able to much more effectively prepare their vehicles for real life scenarios. Business Secretary Cable said he "felt safe" in the autonomous cars. 

The U.K. is playing catch up to other nations that have already been allowing this testing. In the U.S., Google has already been testing cars in California and Japan began public road testing in 2013.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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