A consortium of universities and businesses have joined forces in the UK to kickstarter driverless car trials  on the nation’s roads.

HumanDrive, an initiative set up by Cranfield University, University of Leeds, Highways England, Horiba Mira, SBD Automotive, Atkins, Aimsun and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, seeks to test a range of features in the cars, including steering, braking, speed, road position and decision-making.

The cars will be tested for around 30 months on test tracks before they head to the UK’s public roads, meaning they’ll be fully prepped for all eventualities, the driving project’s organisers explained. All of these tests will happen with a human behind the wheel, just in case something goes wrong along the way.

It’s hoped the cars will not only demonstrate some of the advanced technologies used in driverless vehicles, but they will also convince the public that autonomous vehicles are safe and more convenient than conventional cars.

“This pioneering project will considerably enhance the experience of drivers who use future autonomous vehicles,”Mark Westwood, chief technology officer at UK automotive innovation centre, Transport Systems Catapult, said. “We’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of the capability of machine learning and AI in driving.

“The HumanDrive project further reinforces the UK’s commitment to be at the forefront of future mobility and as a world leader in R&D. We are delighted to be working with world-class partners on this project to ensure autonomous vehicle technology provides users with the utmost comfort and control possible.”