The Department for Transport has committed £20 million of funding to help develop the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
Eight new projects have been awarded £20 million in funding to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car technologies’. This is described as a ‘landmark moment’ and will allow Britain to lead the way in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.
The projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund which ranges from developing autonomous shuttles to carry visually-impaired passengers using advanced sensors and control systems, to new simulation trials for autonomous pods to increase uptake and improve real-world trials.
Trials to test driverless cars on the streets are currently being worked on in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Greenwich. With a rich fabric of scientists and engineers who have established the UK as pioneers in the research and development of connected and autonomous vehicles, today’s funding will help strengthen the UK as a global centre for the fast-growing intelligent mobility market, estimated to be worth £900 billion per year globally by 2025.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner. They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These projects will help profoundly change the way we travel within years, transforming our roads by making travel a simpler experience for drivers, reducing accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly. They will also bring great benefits to our society and the wider economy by opening up new routes for global investment.”
Chris Reeves, Commercial Manager, Future Transport Technologies and Intelligent Mobility at HORIBA MIRA, added: “This project will pave the way for the development and deployment of connected autonomous vehicles in the UK and help the industry address global challenges relating to safety, efficiency and convenience. It will help establish the UK as a global centre of excellence and drive forward the commercialisation of connected vehicles, and deliver a major wealth creation and inward investment opportunity for the UK.”
“Britain is uniquely placed to become a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicle development, technology that has the potential to generate around £51 billion for the UK economy, save 2,500 lives and generate 320,000 jobs. Today’s (1 February 2016) first allocation of the government’s funding pledge, which will be matched by industry, is an important first step on the road to realising that opportunity” surmised Mike Hawes, Chief Executive Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).
All the projects have received financial backing from industry in addition to government funding, and are backed by leading automotive businesses, engineering firms, IT specialists, universities and local authorities. The UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) project, which the Business Secretary will visit today, includes HORIBA MIRA, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, and Vodafone Group amongst others. He will also see demonstrations and simulations of the Flourish and Move UK projects.
In addition to the 8 collaborative R&D projects, the Business Secretary also announced 14 feasibility studies to identify where additional data could help the UK CAV market develop further.