A government minister has announced plans to develop a cyber testing facility for self-driving vehicles.

Future of mobility minister Jesse Norman explained: “Toyota has said that to make self-driving vehicles safe, you would need to test them for around 9 billion miles. That’s the equivalent of driving around the world 350,000 times.

“As that would be impossible on actual roads, we’ll need new approaches to testing these vehicles including through virtual simulations, and a key aspect of this assurance process will be cyber security, an area where the UK excels.

“So I’m delighted to announce that next month, we will launch a competition to develop a state-of-the-art cyber testing facility here in the UK.”

He said it would be a secure facility where researchers, start-ups and big manufacturers could push their vehicles’ software to the limits.

He added: “They will subject self-driving vehicles to a range of cyber-attacks on test-tracks and in virtual environments, ensuring that vehicles’ communication with 5G networks, smart traffic lights and other self-driving vehicles remains completely secure.

“The facility will give the UK a head-start in an automotive cyber security market which – globally – will soon be worth tens of billions of pounds.

“It will ensure that years from now, the first passengers can get in these vehicles confident in the knowledge that they are safe.”