- £40 million government competition will fund projects to help bring to market the latest developments in autonomous commercial vehicles
- funds will help accelerate a new market for the technology, which could be worth £42 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and create 38,000 new skilled jobs
- £1.5 million funding for feasibility studies into real life schemes using self-driving vehicles on guided routes as a potential alternative to traditional bus routes or railways
A new £40 million competition to kick-start commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, has been launched today (May 23) by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment.
The ‘Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility’ competition will provide grants to help roll out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025, with the aim of delivering convenience for consumers and making journeys safer, greener and more reliable.
Types of self-driving vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that move people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.
Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: ”Self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise people’s lives, whether its by helping to better connect people who rely on public transport with jobs, local shops, and vital services, or by making it easier for those who have mobility issues to order and access services conveniently.
”This funding will help unlock the incredible potential of this new and growing industry, building on the continued development of self-driving technology, attracting investment and helping make our transport cleaner, safer and more efficient.”
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: ”We know that self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys cleaner, easier and more reliable. But our absolute priority is harnessing the technology to improve road safety.
”With around 88% of road collisions currently caused by human error, this funding will drive the introduction of new technology to improve travel for all, while boosting economic growth and highly skilled jobs across the nation.
”The competition will cement the UK’s reputation as a global leader in self-driving vehicle technology, unlocking a new industry that could be worth £42 billion to the UK economy by 2035, potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs.”
Around £1.5 million of the funding will be used to study and explore using self-driving vehicles as a means of public transport that could provide an alternative to mass transit systems. This includes, for example, using self-driving vehicles on routes separated from other traffic that could be cheaper and more flexible than new railway lines.
The first vehicles to be listed as self-driving in the UK – vehicles approved under the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Regulation – could be available for people to purchase, lease or rent later this year, according to
The work undertaken by the government and its partners has already ensured that the UK has a proven track record in leading connected and self-driving vehicle innovation, enabling joint public and private investment of £440 million.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes, said: ”Self-driving vehicles offer major benefits to society – improving road safety, supporting new jobs and economic growth, and enabling greater mobility for everyone – so the UK is rightly seeking to be at the forefront of this technological evolution.
”Recent regulatory reforms have helped Britain establish itself as a leader in the rollout out of self-driving passenger vehicles, and today’s announcement is a significant step towards self-driving public transport and goods delivery services becoming a reality. This new funding competition will help drive innovation and, potentially, private investment in UK automotive, ensuring cutting-edge self-driving technology finds a clearer path to UK roads.