UK government launches £40 million competition for roll-out of autonomous vehicles
The Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility competition will provide grants to help roll-out commercial use self-driving buses and vans across the UK from 2025 – potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs.
Credit: UK Government
The UK government has announced that a new £40 million competition to kick-start commercial self-driving services – such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles – has been launched by Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone. The competition will help bring together companies and investors so that sustainable business models can be rolled out nationally and exported globally.
The Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility competition will provide grants to help roll-out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025, delivering convenience for consumers and making journeys safer, greener and more reliable. The 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 it’s 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 per cent 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.
Furthermore, £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 fund comes as the UK government continues its development of a legal framework that will ensure self-driving vehicles can be safely introduced to the nation’s roads. In addition, it follows the government’s announcement of a Transport Bill, in the recent Queen’s Speech, that will introduce comprehensive legislation for self-driving vehicles to enable safe and responsible deployment.
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