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Driverless cars will be on our roads in four years, Hammond predicts

Brits could be commuting to work in driverless cars within the next four years, according to the chancellor Philip Hammond.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Hammond unveiled plans to roll out “fully driverless cars” by 2021.

“We have to embrace these technologies if we want the UK to lead the next industrial revolution,” he said.

Hammond is expected to announce regulatory changes on Wednesday that will enable developers to test driverless vehicles on UK roads.

He is also set to unveil a raft of measures in Wednesday’s Budget to ramp up investment in tech, including £75m for AI and £100m for computer science teaching.

The chancellor has earmarked £400m for electric car charge points, £100m for clean car purchases, £160m for next-generation 5G mobile networks and £76m to boost digital and construction skills.

Julian David, CEO of the UK’s tech trade association TechUK, called on the chancellor to deliver a Budget that provides certainty “where little exists”.

“The Chancellor has said he wants to put the UK at ‘the forefront of the global technology revolution’.  Now is the time to make good on that desire,” he said.

“That means getting more businesses to adopt basic digital processes that will enable them to take advantage of future productivity boosters like AI and prepare for new digital mechanism of taxation.  It also means setting a clear path to meet the government’s commitment to increase R&D spending, at a time when many businesses are already feeling the pinch from uncertainty around EU programmes like Horizon 2020.”