A hands off approach: What it's like in a self-driving car and why is the government interested?

Consumer Editor Chris Choi went for a hands-off spin

It felt odd cruising at 30mph with no hands on the steering wheel - no eyes on the road.

I was at a test track in Oxfordshire reporting on the government's latest announcement on its route towards 'self-driving' vehicles.

A new consultation has started with a view to changing the Highway Code in preparation for a new generation of cars - with Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS).

Don't try this at home - I could only safely drive this way in the controlled conditions of a research centre.

Some commentators have nick-named this "the traffic jam chauffeur", because it will only operate when motorway driving at up to 37mph. It's expected that the car's cameras, radar and sensors will guide you without much driver engagement.

Of course, it will only happen in designated zones and motorists will always need to be ready to take back full control of their vehicle if anything goes wrong.

A large range of cars already have "driver assist" features, but so far there are no vehicles on the UK market with ALKS. Insurance providers, the AA and safety experts at Thatcham Research have all today expressed concerns.

Its feared that new terms such as ALKS will confuse drivers and potentially lead to over-reliance on the systems when they reach our roads.

The government says the development of self-driving tech will provide thousands of jobs and lead to safer roads - with 85% of accidents down to human error. It thinks the first ALKS systems could be on UK roads this year.

This new way of driving will start in the slow lane, but it seems to me that the UK is determined to take over other countries on the road to this new technology.