Driverless cars could be on the UK’s roads in just four years thanks to new legislation allowing them to be insured under ordinary policies.
The Queen is expected to pass the bill in her annual speech to the House of Lords, during the State Opening of Parliament.
The self-driving car market is growing at 16 per cent per year, and it is estimated it could be worth up to £900 billion worldwide by 2025.
Government transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the Mail Online: “Driverless cars and commercial space flight might seem like science fiction, but the economic potential of the new technology is huge and I am determined the UK gets maximum benefit.”
Driverless cars are already on the roads in Abu Dhabi, the Netherlands and Singapore.
Ministers believe driverless cars will be a common sight in the UK by 2020 and that they will also reduce UK road accidents as well as insurance premiums.
However, the Association of British Insurers disputes this and says the new technology may give those behind the wheel a ‘false sense of security.’
Driverless cars will be trialled in four areas of the UK this year including Greenwich, London, where members of the public can sign up to help.
The scheme is part of the £8 million GATEway or Greenwich Automated Transport Environmental project, a collaboration between the Royal College of Art and Transport Research Laboratory.
It comes as an investigation is launched into whether the electromagnetic radiation levels in driverless cars could be hazardous to health.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been liked to health issues including cancer and memory problems – although there is no evidence so far to suggest that levels in driverless cars are too high.
Drones and plans for the nation’s first commercial spaceport will also be included in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday.