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Driverless cars to travel between London and Oxford in 2019

The UK government is pouring £13m of fresh funding into self-driving cars in a bid to become a world leader in the technology.

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Oxbotica is already testing self-driving pods in London.
Oxbotica

Driverless cars are coming to British motorways in 2019 and will travel autonomously between the cities of London and Oxford.

The UK government unveiled plans on Monday to accelerate its autonomous driving efforts by investing £13 million in multiple projects to help it fulfil its ambition to become a world leader in getting the futuristic tech on the roads.

Driven, a consortium led by Oxford Robotics Institute spinout Oxbotica, received a hefty £8 million chunk of the money. Oxbotica is already conducting self-driving pod trials in London, but the consortium is working towards getting driverless cars -- with a backup driver inside for safety -- travelling long distances on British motorways within the next 30 months.

In the meantime, extensive tests will take place at RACE, a robotics centre in Oxfordshire run by the the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which boasts 10 kilometres of roads, junctions, roundabouts, as well as traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

"Driven is important because it will answer questions around cyber security and insurance as well as the underlying technology," said RACE Director Rob Buckingham in a statement. The Driven consortium includes insurer XL Catlin, which will assess the risks involved in each stage of the testing.