In his latest budget speech, Philip Hammond, UK Finance Minister, said he plans to put driverless cars on British roads by 2021 and will invest $99 million (£75 million, €84 million) in funding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and £160 million in developing 5G technology, which the government believes will be necessary for the mass rollout of driverless cars. Even members of the public who wish to buy a battery-operated electric automobile will be eligible for funding. This all forms part and parcel of the UK’s endeavors to move towards zero-emission transport.
The government approximates that by 2035, the UK’s industry for driverless car will be valued at £28 billion. Hammond said that in order to achieve this, he will publicize law changes to make sure driverless cars are on the road in just 3 years.
In a BBC news report Hammond explained that while this may seem like a daring move, he believes the country has to embrace technologies that will see the UK at the forefront of the ensuing industrial revolution: “I recognize that I can’t use this budget just to trail a bunch of numbers, but must tell a story about where Britain is going.”
Meanwhile, critics argue that the minister, whom they nickname “spreadsheet Phil” for being obsessed by facts and figures and lacking a grand vision, is being pressurized to provide an attention-grabbing financial plan as a result of Brexit quarrels with other members of cabinet. He also plans to pronounce a fund of £400 million for corporations eager to start producing nation-wide charge points for electric cars.