Driverless cars are being tested for first time in the UK

Sadly they don't look like the ones in Minority Report.

Minority Report Driverless Cars Tom Cruise
Need for speed Tom Cruise in a driverless car in Minority Report. Image 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks

The future of travel is finally here – and it’s landed in the mean streets of Milton Keynes in the UK.

Driverless cars were once seen as something out of science fiction, but now they’re very much a reality.

According to the BBC, members of the public in Milton Keynes will have recently witnessed a two-seater electric motor doing a 1km circuits on the pavements surrounding the town’s railway station.

Looking like a souped up Smart car, the vehicles aren’t exactly at the level of Tom Cruise’s Minority Report offering but everything has to start somewhere.

The LUTZ Pathfinder project is said to be the first ever demonstration of driverless cars in the UK. Google and Uber have previously tested autonomous vehicles in America, but all UK trials until now have involved a human manually operating the vehicle.

“This public demonstration represents a major milestone for autonomous vehicles in the UK and the culmination of an extensive project involving UK companies and experts,” said programme director Neil Fulton.

The car is powered by autonomy software called Selenium, which was developed by the brainiacs at Oxford University’s robotics institute. Those people probably know their way around a circuit board.

“Oxford University’s technology will go on to power automated vehicles around the world, and the project will now feed into a much wider programme of autonomous trials across the UK,” Fulton added.

“Driverless vehicles are coming to Britain, and what we have demonstrated today is a huge step on that journey.”

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn