This week Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond revealed that he aims for driverless cars to be on British roads in 2021, with the forthcoming Budget said to be allowing for nationwide road testing of the autonomous vehicles.
2017 saw driverless technology going full steam ahead, with Nissan running its first test on UK roads, robots parking your car at a Paris airport and a glimpse at what the taxi of the future may look like. We have rounded up what's been happening in the world of autonomous vehicles in 2017.
Could this be your future taxi?
Minus steering wheel and pedals, the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo is a fully-autonomous electric vehicle.
Glowing panels on the front and side of the vehicle will allow passengers to identify it as their car once it's been summoned via an app, and a friendly message on the front will indicate who the taxi is for.
Nissan ran its first test of self-driving cars on UK roads
In March this year in busy East London, Nissan tested prototypes of its Leaf model for the first time.
Three Leaf cars were taken on 25-minute round trips from the ExCeL exhibition centre to Beckton. This trip involved a number of challenges, including roundabouts, lane changes, pedestrian crossings and roads where the cars could reach speeds of up to 50mph.
Nissan's aim is to have the model widely available by 2020.
Toyota overcomes random challenges
In September, Toyota Institute of Research demonstrated some pretty impressive results.
The first iterations of Chauffeur and Guardian, two systems which either drive a car completely autonomously or act as an assistant, were unveiled at the beginning of the year.
Watch the video to see the modified Lexus LS 600hL test vehicle dealing with the 'randomness' of everyday life in Chauffeur mode by changing lanes to avoid hay bales dropped in its path.
Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot
German automobile giant Audi is getting in on the act with its automated driving system called Traffic Jam Pilot. It isn’t a driverless car but it’s a system that means the car can drive itself in congestion.
Using sensors, cameras and laser scanners, the Traffic Jam Pilot can stop or start your car for you in a snarl-up.
BT took a test drive in Dusseldorf and found the system kept the car perfectly in lane in commuter traffic.
However, current laws mean the technology is still illegal to use in most countries.
A robot to park your car at the airport
It's not a driverless car but a robot that moves your car without you in it.
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport is looking after travellers' cars a bit differently. Stanley Robotics, a French start-up, uses an automated garage and parking system that sees drivers park their car in a special bay before autonomous robots collect and place it inside the garage.
No more trying to remember where on earth you parked your car after a week lying on the beach!
Babies born in 2017 may not even need to take a driving test
With advances being made in autonomous driving technology, one top car insurer suggested in June that babies born this year will never have to take a driving test.
Amanda Blanc, boss of insurance company Axa UK, told The Telegraph: “Babies born today may never have to take a driving test.”
What are the concerns with driverless cars?
Despite the successes of these trials, there have been some major concerns put forward about driverless cars from increased congestion to the threat of mass hacking.
Just this month, Matthew Channon, an expert on driverless cars from the University of Exeter, said autonomous vehicles could be a target for hackers because of the connectivity they rely on for updates and to read road and weather conditions.
There are also worries that driverless cars could increase congestion on some UK roads, according to a Department of Transport study published in January.
Delays on motorways and major roads during peak periods are expected to rise by 0.9% when one in four cars are automated, researchers found.
There was not a good first day at the office for one particular driverless shuttle in Las Vegas…
The shuttle was involved in a crash on its first day in service when it was hit by a human driver within two hours of being let loose on the roads.