UK Department for Transport logoThe United Kingdom is holding a contest in which cities will compete for a share of a £10 million prize and the chance to host the country’s driverless car trials on public roads, writes Stephanie Mlot for PC. The trials will start next January and are expected to last from 18 to 36 months, Mlot adds.

UK cities seeking to be hosts of one of the three trials need to submit their applications by noon on October 1, PC writes. To qualify, applicants need to be business-led and demonstrate partnerships with tech developers, supply chain companies, manufacturers and the like, PC writes.

PC writes that the UK believes it is well-positioned for such testing:

‘Britain is brilliantly placed to lead the world in driverless technology. It combines our strengths in cars, satellites, big data and urban design,’ Science Minister Greg Clark said, tipping ‘huge potential benefits’ for the job market and consumers.

As BBC writes, other countries including the U.S. have been testing, or plan to test, the technology on public roads. In 2013, Nissan tested its autonomous cars on a public road in Japan; the Swedish city of Gothenburg plans to test 100 of Volvo’s driverless cars in 2017. In the U.S., Google’s self-driving cars have been tested in California, and Nevada passed a law allowing autonomous cars on its roads, BBC writes. And just this week, Audi tested its self-driving Audi A7 on a closed highway in Tampa, PC writes. In addition, as Steven Milward reports for Tech in Asia, Chinese search engine Baidu has started working on self-driving car technology.

Google driverless car in California

Google driverless car in California

Earlier this year, this blog reported that on Feb. 5 the Colorado State Senate considered a law that would allow driverless cars on roads in the state. But the state’s Senate Transportation Committee voted to postpone the bill for an indefinite period of time, as Greg Ryan reports for Law360, after Google opposed the bill.

PC writes that the FBI recently expressed concern that criminals could use driverless cars to commit crimes. Self-driving cars could “could act as ‘lethal weapons,’ potentially allowing criminals to ‘conduct tasks that require use of both hands,’ like shooting at pursuers while the vehicle drives itself away from a crime scene,” PC writes

A commenter named Razgreiz writes the following below the BBC article, in support of the technology:

To the people saying “what’s the point?”, some of the benefits I can think [of] are,
Long distance driving/Fatigue not playing a part in accidents
Companies such as HGV or courier firms having less costs
People with driving impairing disabilities to own/use a car

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