Today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is said to announce that vehicles with new technology enabling them to stay in their lanes automatically will be legal within months.
The bold move will help to prevent up to 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade as it cuts out human error, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
It will mean motorists in Britain may be the first in the world to be able to legally take their hands off the steering wheel and check their emails while driving.
The cars will travel at a maximum of 37mph and on motorways only.
They will not be able to change lanes, but will automatically slow down as they react to other traffic.
The driver will be able to take control in an emergency.
The cars will help to improve the traffic flow, reduce commute times and slash emissions as the ride will be smoother, ministers said.
Announcing a consultation, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “This is a major step for the safe use of self-driving vehicles in the UK, making future journeys greener, easier and more reliable.”
The tech will appear only in newly-built cars.
It cannot be adapted for use in cars already on the road.
But Edmund King, of the AA, said: “More needs to be done to test these systems.”