Autonomous cars are coming to the UK later this year, as a trial with three self-driving pods kicks off in pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes over the summer.

The pods, called Lutz Pathfinder, will eventually be used to transport two passengers from Milton Keynes Central train station to a shopping centre one mile away. This is just the first step along an enormous path towards a world of entirely autonomous cars mixing with regular vehicles on all roads, at day and night, and in all weather.

Imagine Festival brought together key companies involved with the UK's autonomous car projects, including the Pathfinder and UK Autodrive, the collaboration which will look at developing what comes next. Future systems will see autonomous pods hailed by smartphone applications, and vehicles which can traverse a busy city far more efficiently than their human-controlled relatives.

The UK has a head-start over most other countries – including all of Europe – because it did not sign the 1968 Vienna Convention On Road Traffic, which states that every moving vehicle "shall have a driver". Because of this – a move branded "blind luck" by some – the UK can test self-driving cars on public roads.

To find out more about the Lutz Pathfinder, UK Autodrive, and the future of autonomous transport, IBTimes UK spoke in the video above to Neil Fulton, director of Transport Systems Catapult, Tim Armitage, director of UK Autodrive, and Ian Taylor, managing director of iAbra.