Driverless cars will take to Britain's motorways for the first time next year, UK chancellor [finance minister] George Osborne reportedly has announced ahead of his budget this week.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the chancellor said trials will take place on local roads this year before being extended to A-roads and motorways in 2016. He vowed to clear red tape so the cars could be sold to the public and put into widespread use on Britain's roads by 2020.

The Chancellor said that at a time of "global uncertainty" he wants Britain to be a "world leader" in new technologies such as driverless cars.

The motorway trials, which will be overseen by Highways England, will take place at quiet times on lanes which are closed off to other traffic.

Osborne said: "Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine. Naturally we need to ensure safety, and that's what the trials we are introducing will test."

Under the plans groups of driverless lorries could also soon be seen along Britain's motorways as the government pushes ahead with bringing about next-generation transport.

A stretch of the M6 near Carlisle has reportedly been earmarked as a potential test route, the Telegraph said.