UK autonomous bus and taxi projects receive £25 million funding
Passengers will be able to experience public autonomous driving services in the UK by 2021, after three driverless mobility projects receive funding.
Three new public autonomous driving trials will share a £25 million government grant and give people in London and Edinburgh the chance to experience driverless technology by 2021.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clarke announced the funding winners during a visit to Oxbotica, part of one of the winning consortia.
The three projects – Project CAV Forth, Project Apollo and ServCity – support the government’s Industrial Strategy and Future Mobility Grand Challenge, and each brings together leading names from business, technology and academia.
Project CAV Forth is being led by Fusion Processing and will bring together a number of UK organisations to develop a high-capacity autonomous bus pilot service across the Forth Bridge. The project will convert five full-size Alexander Dennis buses into driverless vehicles. These will be able to carry 42 passengers at a time the 14 miles across the bridge to Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange. The proposed schedule for this route sees buses running every 20 minutes, which could provide an estimated 10,000 weekly journeys.
Project Apollo. meanwhile, will develop and deploy four autonomous taxi pilot services in London. It will be led by Addison Lee with Oxbotica, Nominet, Immense Simulations and DG Cities. The pilot services will utilise six vehicles developed by Oxbotica as part of the DRIVEN consortium, and also develop nine further new vehicles. The services vary include providing a feed into North Greenwich Station, a Hub-to-hub service, a restricted on-demand service and a ‘go anywhere in borough’ service. This project, once proven, will see the launch of a new public service in 2021 – potentially sooner depending on its success.
Finally, ServCity will develop a mobility service for London using six autonomous Land Rover Discovery 4x4s. Led by Jaguar Land Rover, Addison Lee, the University of Nottingham, Transport Systems Catapult and TRL, the project builds on expertise from the government-backed UK Autodrive project. The consortium will test and further develop existing JLR sensing and autonomy systems in Coventry and the Midlands before deploying a pilot of a premium mobility service across four Greater London boroughs.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Self-driving cars will revolutionise the way we move goods and people around the UK. These Industrial Strategy projects and investments are exciting examples of our long-term plan in action – ensuring we build on our strengths to reap the rewards as we accelerate towards our ambition to have autonomous vehicles on UK roads by 2021. Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.”
Future of Mobility Minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK is a world leader in transport innovation, and our work on the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge will ensure this long continues.
“Automated driving technology is advancing rapidly, and the UK market for connected and autonomous vehicles is forecast to be worth up to £52 billion by 2035.
“This pioneering technology will bring significant benefits to people right across the country, improving mobility and safety, and driving growth across the UK.”
Addison Lee Group, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), DG Cities, Fusion Processing, Immense Simulations, Jaguar Land Rover, Nominet, Oxbotica, Transport Systems Catapult, TRL, University of Nottingham