DRIVERLESS cars are unlikely to be tested on Oxfordshire’s roads for months yet, an Oxford University spokesman said.

The team behind the robotic car hoping to hit the streets around the county said they welcomed recent support from the universities and science minister David Willetts.

But they warned even if the Department for Transport gave them the go-ahead to use public roads immediately, the technology isn’t quite ready yet.

An Oxford University spokesman said: “There’s a lot more research and testing to do but these remarks show a fantastic attitude to progress.

“It’s still too early to talk about the Oxford car driving itself autonomously on the public road – there’s a lot more work to be done, but the project is progressing well.”

The navigation system is being developed by a team led by Prof Paul Newman and Dr Ingmar Posner from Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science.

It recognises its surroundings using small cameras and lasers and offers the driver the option of the car taking over to drive a familiar route.

Mr Willetts has been lobbying the Department for Transport to give the green light for the Begbroke-based team to use public roads.

His efforts in Whitehall follow his trip in the robotic car in March.

Mr Willetts said: “Autonomous vehicles, like the one being developed in Oxford, are an exciting development.

“I enjoyed my trip around Begbroke Science Park in Oxford’s car.

“Having experienced a road test of Google’s autonomous vehicle in the USA, I am keen to see road testing being allowed here in the UK.”

The law is not likely to be changed but trials such as the one at Begbroke Science Park would be decided on a case by case basis, a spokesman at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said.

The technology costs around £5,000 and is built into the body of the car and linked to a computer in the boot.

In the long term the designers are hoping the system can be sold for as little as £100.