Parking can be one of the most stressful aspects of driving, but UK researchers believe cars that park themselves could be here in a matter of years.

The autonomous parking technology could be operating on our roads by 2021, as part of self-driving car research in the UK.

The research is funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Meridian, the British government's self-driving investment hub.

Of the £30m ear-marked for autonomous technologies, £5m is being pumped into self-parking systems. The technology will be able to handle a range of parking situations without the driver required to do anything - except trigger the parking system.

As part of the investment, two testing sites will be set up for testing autonomous cars in built-up areas.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said: “Self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the way we move people and goods across the UK.

"They also support our ambition for a cleaner, greener future as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

The UK is already leading the way in developing this technology and today’s funding will bring self-driving vehicles one step closer to becoming a normal feature on UK roads and could, in time, make learning to parallel park a thing of the past.”

The chair of Automotive Council Technology, Graham Hoare, said: “On behalf of the Automotive Council, I welcome the latest developments at Meridian Mobility Technology, the UK’s CAV Development Capability.

“Meridian continues the acceleration of the UK's CAV development facilities with the announcement of important partnerships as part of the latest outcomes of the TestBed program, Wave 2&3.

“These new capabilities will complement our strengthening UK Test capability with the advantage of a ‘one stop shop’ mindset for the industry.”

While the government wants the UK to lead the world in autonomous technology, companies in many other countries are pursuing driverless car technologies, including Google, Apple, GM and Ford.