Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Autonomous cars are coming, sooner than you may think, with self-driving pod style cars hitting the streets by the end of this year.

The driverless pods are due to arrive on limited roads in Singapore before the end of 2016 as a way for families to get about school and work. They are effectively automated public transport systems for within public areas.

The pods won't be on the main roads just yet. Rather, they're built to move people about gated communities or on a campus grounds.

The electric powered pods, built by Dutch company 2getthere, will hold 24-passengers meaning when rolled out these will service up to 8000 passengers per hour, in one direction, says the company.

The best electric cars 2021: Top battery-powered vehicles available on UK roads

Similar pods have been operating on a smaller scale, with just running, in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi since 2010. Another example of similar models currently running is in Rotterdam's Rivium Business Park where there are six vehicles carrying 20 passengers each. Here, the company says, there are 2500 people using the pods each day.

While this is still a very localised example of autonomous driving, it's the opening of the gates to a future where self-driving cars are common. Expect there to be plenty of autonomous cars hitting the major roads soon.

READ: Self-driving cars: 14 automakers betting on driverless vehicles

Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 21 April 2016.