Driverless cars projects are given £20 million government boost

Mar 18, 2016
Government funding of £20 million has been awarded to eight projects to develop the next generation of driverless vehicles.

Driverless carsThe projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund. They range 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, Milton Keynes, and Greenwich. Autonomous vehicles are also being used at Heathrow to shuttle passengers, although these are currently on designated tracks. 

The UK has a wealth of scientists and engineers who have established the UK as a pioneer in the research and development of connected and autonomous vehicles. The funding will help strengthen the UK as a 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. Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.” 

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.” 

Photo: The UK is at the forefront of research into driverless cars.