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Autonomous cars to learn to drive on UK's country roads

A new initiative aims to tackle the challenge of teaching driverless cars to drive on the UK's difficult country lanes and roundabouts.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The winding country roads of the UK will soon be a testing ground for driverless cars.

That's thanks to the HumanDrive initiative, a collaborative effort between Groupe Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Highways England and others.

Simulated tests using "competent drivers", the BBC reports, will be conducted to gather data, before the autonomous car (with occupants) begins a 200-mile test drive.

The UK's roads feature tight, winding country lanes and high-speed roundabouts -- features not typically found in the often grid-like road systems on which autonomous cars are being tested in the US. 

Developing autonomous vehicles that can safely tackle these challenging roads is a significant step towards the government's goal of putting driverless cars on UK roads by 2021