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Britain gears up to test driverless cars on public roads

A driverless car during testing at the headquarters of motor industry research organization MIRA at Nuneaton in the West Midlands, England, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. British officials says driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program to begin in January. Officials said Wednesday the tests will last up to three years. Sensors and cameras will guide the cars.

Rui Vieira/AP

British officials says driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program to begin in January.

Officials said Wednesday the tests will last up to three years. Sensors and cameras will guide the cars.

The plan will include two types of driverless technology. One places a driver in the car who can take the controls if needed; another calls for a fully autonomous vehicle with no driver present.

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Transport Minister Claire Perry said driverless cars could transform Britain's road network and improve safety and traffic flow while reducing carbon emissions.

The cities to test the system will be chosen in a competition.

Other countries including Japan and the United States are already developing driverless technology.

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