autonomous HumanDrive Nissan Leaf

An autonomous Nissan Leaf is already being tested on British roads

Forty per cent of new car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7bn by 2035, according to a new report launched by transport minister Rachel Maclean.

Addressing the CES technology she unveiled the report compiled by researchers at the Connected Places Catapult, Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics.

She said: “The investment in and development of CAVs (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) could truly transform the way people and goods are transported, with innovation like this at the heart of our ambition to build back better.

“We’re on the cusp of a driving revolution. Not only could this tech unlock vast opportunities for the UK economy and jobs market, it could significantly improve the safety and efficiency of how we travel over the coming decades.”

Lord Grimstone, minister for investment at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, said: “Self-driving vehicles represent a huge economic opportunity for the UK, unlocking much-needed jobs and economic growth.

“Government is backing business to realise this – driving forward the future of the UK’s automotive and technology sectors and helping us build back better.”

Nicola Yates, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “CAV technologies have the potential to revolutionise transport. Designed in the right way, a system of connected autonomous vehicles could make our transport network more accessible, safer, more efficient and better for the environment. Connected Places Catapult has been pleased to partner with stakeholders across government, industry and academia over several years to make sure that the UK is one of the best places in the world for CAV development. This new report, developed in partnership with Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, shines a light on the economic opportunities for a UK CAV industry.”

In August 2020 government announced a consultation to enable the use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems – an early form of automation in vehicles – on UK roads as early as this year. The response to this consultation is set to be published in early 2021.