The United Kingdom has given autonomous driving the green light, launching a new campaign that will see driverless cars on local roads within six months.

The government is calling on U.K. cities to join with businesses and research organizations to throw their hat into the ring for a share of a £10 million competition to host the country's driverless cars trial.

Available online, applications must be submitted by noon on Oct. 1. Up to three cities will be selected to host the trials, which begin in January. Each project is expected to last 18-36 months.

"The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the U.K. as a pioneer in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects," U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement. "Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than [six] months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society."

Two areas of independent driving technology will be covered in the review: cars with a qualified driver who can take over control of the driverless car, and fully autonomous vehicles without anyone behind the wheel.

"Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the U.K.'s transport network—they could improve safety, reduce congestion, and lower emissions, particularly CO2. We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfil this potential," Transport Minister Claire Perry said. "Which is why we are actively reviewing regulatory obstacles to create the framework for trialling these vehicles on British roads."

PC Magazine