The future is here... almost. Driverless taxis will be on the streets of London by 2021 — that's the aim of three new government-backed pilots.
The first London pilot — announced by the Department for Business — will see 15 self-driving vehicles available to book in North Greenwich. Four taxi services — including Addison Lee — will be involved. One of these services will allow passengers to ride anywhere within the borough of Greenwich.
A second London pilot — ServCity — involves six self-driving Land Rovers, available across four different (yet-to-be-named) London boroughs.
In all, £25m of government money is being put into the pilots, which will also see an autonomous bus service across the Forth Bridge from Fife to Edinburgh.
North Greenwich is no stranger to driverless cars: the Gateway Project invited members of the public to ride in a driverless pod shuttle around the area, back in 2017.
Said Business Secretary Greg Clark, on the announcement of the new driverless pilots:
Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.
Each of the three pilots is due to launch in 2021, and last for six months.
Ride share company Uber has made no secret of its own ambitions to introduce driverless cars, although it's suffered setbacks in recent times, including a pedestrian fatality in Arizona in March 2018. Uber previously admitted to Londonist that it plans to introduce driverless cars to London, although no date has been given. Doubtless that, with this news, it'll be champing at the driverless bit.