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Bristol steering the way to driverless technology

Several test cars are being shown off. Photo: ITV West Country

Technology companies in Bristol say they are close to producing safe driverless cars for public use.

A number of organisations demonstrated test vehicles in Millennium Square as part of the @Bristol Science Festival.

The test vehicle has been driving around Millennium Square. Credit: ITV West Country

The chancellor announced in April that £100million will be spent on developing the technology to mass-produce driverless cars.

A share of this funding will be given to Bristol based organisations who are working on the vehicles.

The University of the West of England is already involved in a pilot project.

£100m
funding has been dedicated to driverless and low carbon research.

One of the cars displayed is a 'pod' that can be used for short term journeys.

Designed in Bristol, it is fully electric and therefore a hit with environmental campaigners.

The pods are fully electric Credit: ITV West Country

Another design shown is a converted Landrover that closer resembles a standard car.

The vehicle has been fitted with cameras which it uses to build up a 'picture' of its surroundings.

Another driverless car model on display. Credit: ITV West Country

Bristol company Fusion Processing is providing the control system for the pod.

The company's CEO Jim Hutchinson says the technology is closer to being available than some may think.

We're trialling them now and there will be more built this year so it's months rather than years before we'll see these in operation.

– Jim Hutchinson
Fusion Processing CEO Jim Hutchinson is confident the pod will be a success. Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Hutchinson says the technology won't affect taxi and public transport jobs because it will operate on fixed routes.

He is confident the driverless cars will be popular once they are completed.

We do have plans to make a version that will be road-going.

– Jim Hutchinson