Driverless vehicle trials to take to roads under latest government funding
Fleets of driverless vehicles are to be trialled on UK roads and motorways in 2019 with the help of a latest round of government funding.
As announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark, the Government is investing £38m into research for connected and autonomous vehicles as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with two separate consortia to use their funding for 2019 trials.
This includes the Driven consortium, which is spearheaded by technology company Oxbotica and also includes Transport Research Laboratory as a partner, has received an £8.6m grant to deploy a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways.
Effective from this month, the 30-month project will focus on developing an automated system to radically transform how insurance and autonomous vehicles will work together in connected cities.
The project will culminate in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford. The vehicles will operate at Level 4 autonomy, which means they have the capability of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip, with zero-passenger occupancy.
In addition, UK start-up FiveAI is to bring a fleet of autonomous vehicles to London’s roads in 2019 after its ‘StreetWise’ consortium was awarded £12.8m in grant support.
The £23m project, which includes partners Transport for London, Direct Line, the University of Oxford and the Transport Research Laboratory, will work on trialling an autonomous personal mobility service targeted at replacing the urban commuter car in the Capital. The project will develop and demonstrate the technology, safety validation methods, insurance and service models for the solution, which will focus on reducing costs, cutting accident rates, lowering emissions and minimising congestion.
Rob Wallis, CEO at TRL, commented: “We continue to see a major industry shift towards automation, connectivity and electrification of vehicles, and the use of shared mobility schemes. Such market disruption is transforming the way people will travel, especially in cities, and it is vital that the UK remains at the forefront of this development.”