£1.8m to develop autonomous tech

Four consortia have been awarded funding totalling £18m to deliver new self-driving technology testing and development facilities in the UK.

These facilities, based in the Midlands, are part of a growing integrated ecosystem which is scoped and coordinated by Meridian.

This new funding, as part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Meridian’s £100m infrastructure programme delivered through Innovate UK, will bring the UK nearer to its objective of a complete suite of capabilities for testing, development and deployment of CAVs.

This additional investment adds highways, rural and parking to the UK’s testing facilities, along with a commercially-focused data exchange to maximise the benefits of connected vehicles. As these facilities come online, companies and transport operators from around the world can use the UK as a one stop shop to develop technology and business models.

It is possible to develop and prove first/last mile delivery between cities and rural communities, safety critical systems, new parking services, and new technologies to measure, monitor and control traffic.

The announcement adds a further 6km of private testing ground at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire and uses 259km of public rural and highway road, making the Meridian testing cluster a network of nearly 600 km in total.

‘This is great news for the UK.  Leading technology businesses from Japan, Germany and Spain, alongside homegrown innovators, are all investing significant sums in the UK to accelerate development of self-driving technologies,’ said Daniel Ruiz, CEO of Meridian.

‘Their business decisions are an endorsement of our capabilities in this globally competitive sector. We’ve got the talent, the tools, strong government support and a highly collaborative culture; and these are consolidating our world leading position at this stage of the transport revolution.’