In the not too distant future, don’t be alarmed if you happen to glance over at the car next to you and can’t see anyone behind the wheel. Because a group of British companies has said they’ll be ready to test a fleet of fully autonomous cars on UK roads and motorways in 2019.

The group, known as Driven, is led by a firm that makes software for driverless vehicles. At the moment, driverless cars have only been tested in closely controlled environments such as city centres, and been driven at very low speeds. Testing a fleet of autonomous cars will give researchers insight into what data the cars will share with each other.

If you’re worried about AI cars running amok and causing havoc on otherwise predictable motorways, then don’t; because although the cars will drive and think for themselves, there’ll still be a real-life person inside (just to check things are ok). Not only that, insurance providers will be taking a close look at what happens too, so that they can clarify their position in the future.

The government has supported the Driven project with £8.6 million – part of its £100 million pot to help driverless car development in the UK. Whilst it sounds like a lot of money, critics have warned that the money the government has allocated, is a drop in the ocean compared to investments made by other countries.

The UK’s powers that be, have made no secret that they want the country to ‘lead the way’ when it comes to autonomous car tech. But there are concerns that waiting until 2019 to test cars could mean it’s simply too late for Britain to be at the forefront of any breakthroughs.

Whether the thought of driverless cars excites or terrifies you, fully automated vehicles could save millions of lives around the world every year – it’s estimated that 95% of all car accidents involve human error. Not only does automation potentially mean safer roads, it means those currently unable to drive will have freedom that those of us who do drive, take for granted.

So until driverless cars become the norm, you’ll probably still need to think about your car insurance, car tax – you don’t need us to go on. So, when it comes to sorting out the old paperwork, make sure you’re getting great value and with us first.

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