Government boost for driverless cars

The government has awarded £20 million in funding to eight driverless car technology projects being conducted in the United Kingdom.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement at a visit to the Horiba Mira test facility near Nuneaton yesterday (01/02).

The projects are the first to be funded from the British government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund. Among the projects given approval are the development of autonomous shuttles to carry visually-impaired passengers, a rolling 40 mile living laboratory, and new simulation trials for autonomous pods to increase uptake.

Trials to test driverless cars are currently in development for Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes, and Greenwich, while autonomous vehicles are also in use at Heathrow Airport, although these are currently on designated tracks.

Mr. 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.’

In his announcement, Javid also said that the government will also launch 14 feasibility studies to identify data to help CAV market growth in the UK.

Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders chief executive Mike Haws said, ‘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.’

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added, ‘This is a landmark moment and will allow Britain to lead the way in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.’

The projects that have been given funding are:

  • UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment: a project that will equip over 40 miles of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways around Coventry with combinations of three “talking car technologies” and testing for a fourth.
  • Insight: a project to develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems, with a particular focus on improving urban accessibility for disabled and visually-impaired people.
  • Tools for autonomous logistics operations and management: a collaboration bringing together transport modellers and the computer games industry to develop new modelling and improve return on investment.
  • FLOURISH: a Bristol-based project to develop new tools to improve the understanding of user needs and expectations of connected and autonomous vehicles
  • MOVE-UK: this project will be focused on accelerating the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems
  • INnovative Testing of Autonomous Control Techniques: a project to reduce the cost of testing and evaluating systems in a safe and scientifically rigorous environment.
  • Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles: this project will develop a solution to monitor key vehicle information and predict safety risks based on analytics
  • i-MOTORS – Intelligent Mobility for Future Cities Transport Systems: This project will deliver connected Vehicle to Anything (V2X) systems via a mobile platform. It will also develop hardware which will receive and analyse sensory data in real-time to raise data-processing standards