The UK Government has announced plans that will see fully autonomous self-driving cars, coaches and lorries on the roads by 2025, an initiative which could create thousands of new jobs.

The plan will be backed by a £100m funding package, which includes a £34m investment for research on areas such as how self-driving cars perform in poor weather and how they interact with others on the road such as pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles.

The package also includes a £20m investment to support commercial self-driving services and to enable businesses to expand and generate jobs.

Initially, some vehicles with self-driving features could start operating on UK roads from 2023, such as those using lane-keeping technology. The latest announcement paves the way for new laws for the wider rollout of fully autonomous vehicles by 2025.

Through the move, the government hopes to benefit from a market, which could be worth an estimated £42bn and generate up to 38,000 job opportunities.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The benefits of self-driving vehicles have the potential to be huge. Not only can they improve people’s access to education and other vital services, but the industry itself can create tens of thousands of job opportunities throughout the country.

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“Most importantly, they’re expected to make our roads safer by reducing the dangers of driver error in road collisions. “We want the UK to be at the forefront of developing and using this fantastic technology, and that is why we are investing millions in vital research into the safety and setting the legislation to ensure we gain the full benefits that this technology promises.”

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