Self-driving buses, shuttles and delivery vans could soon hit UK roads thanks to a £40m government-funded competition

  • £40million government competition will fund projects to bring the latest developments in self-driving commercial vehicles to market
  • the funds will help accelerate a new market for the technology, which could be worth £42bn to the UK economy by 2035 and create 38,000 new skilled jobs
  • £1.5m funding for feasibility studies of real projects using self-driving vehicles on guided routes as a potential alternative to bus routes or traditional railways

A new £40million competition to launch commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, was launched today (Monday May 23) by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment . The funding could create tens of thousands of skilled jobs across the UK over the next decade.

The ‘Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility’ competition will award grants to help deploy autonomous vehicles for commercial use across the UK from 2025, providing convenience to consumers and making travel safer, greener and more reliable .

The competition will help bring companies and investors together so that sustainable business models are rolled out domestically and exported globally.

The types of autonomous vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that transport people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.

Investment Minister Lord Grimstone said:

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionize people’s lives, whether by helping to better connect people who depend on public transport with jobs, local businesses and vital services, or by making it easier to order and access for those with mobility issues. 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 to make our transportation cleaner, safer and more effective.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:

We know that autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize the way we travel, making our future journeys cleaner, easier and more reliable. But our top priority is to harness technology to improve road safety.

With approximately 88% of traffic collisions currently caused by human error, this funding will support the introduction of new technologies to improve travel for all, while stimulating economic growth and high-skilled jobs across the country.

The competition will cement the UK’s reputation as a world leader in autonomous vehicle technology, unlocking a new industry that could be worth £42bn to the UK economy by 2035, potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs .

£1.5m of the funding will be used to study and explore the use of self-driving vehicles as a means of public transport which could provide an alternative to mass transit systems. This includes, for example, the use of autonomous vehicles on routes separated from other traffic which could be cheaper and more flexible than new rail lines.

The UK government continues to develop a comprehensive legal and insurance framework for autonomous vehicles to ensure the technology is safe. The Government announced a Transport Bill in the recent Queen’s Speech which will introduce comprehensive legislation for autonomous vehicles to enable safe and responsible deployment.

The first vehicles to be listed as autonomous in the UK – vehicles approved under the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Settlement – could be available for people to buy, rent or lease later this year. Vehicles will undergo rigorous testing and will only be allowed to drive themselves if they have met strict standards.

The work undertaken by the government and its partners has already resulted in the UK having a proven track record of connected and autonomous vehicle innovation, enabling a joint public and private investment of £440 million.

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said:

Self-driving vehicles offer major benefits to society – improving road safety, supporting new jobs and economic growth, and enabling greater mobility for all – which is why the UK is rightly looking to be at the cutting edge of this technological development. Recent regulatory reforms have helped Britain establish itself as a leader in the deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles, and today’s announcement is an important step towards realizing autonomous public transport and services. delivery of goods. This new funding competition will help spur innovation and, potentially, private investment in UK motoring, ensuring cutting-edge self-driving technology finds a clearer path to UK roads.

Notes to Editors

Interested parties can learn more about the contestwhich is managed by the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

The government will put in place a comprehensive legal framework to ensure the safe and responsible deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Vehicles will undergo rigorous testing and will only be approved as self-driving if they have met strict standards and can be driven safely and legally without driver supervision.

Drivers with existing technologies, such as assistance systems like cruise control, auto start/stop and lane following, must always remain in control of their vehicle – these products are not defined as autonomous.

Currently, there are no vehicles approved for self-driving on UK roads, which means drivers must always maintain control of the vehicle.

In 2035, 80% of UK jobs related to ACV Technology production is believed to be in software-related industries, where Britain’s capabilities are strong, the value of technologies is high, and the labor intensity of production is high. The remaining 20% ​​would be in the production of ACV hardware such as sensors. Over 90% of jobs created in developing countries ACV software and more than 80% of manufacturing-related jobs ACV hardware store should belong to professional, technical and specialized professions.

The government is working closely with industry and academia to ensure these safety benefits materialize as technology advances, for example by educating drivers so they understand how to use autonomous vehicles. .

In 2020, 88% of road accidents were caused by human error. SMMT estimate that autonomous vehicles will save 3,900 lives and prevent 47,000 serious accidents by 2030.

The potential economic and societal benefits of the technology in the UK are vast. The Connected Places Catapult Market Forecast for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles 2020 forecasts that by 2035, 40% of new car sales in the UK could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of $41.7 billion. pound sterling. This in turn could create 38,000 new skilled jobs.

About the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

The Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is a joint directorate for business strategy, energy and industry (BEIS) and Ministry of Transportation (DfT) unity. Established in 2015, CCAV is a unit of experts working with industry and academia to make everyday commuting greener, safer, more flexible and more reliable by shaping the safe and secure emergence of connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK and leading the government’s strategy for the future of transport.

CCAV developing regulation, investing in innovation and skills and engaging the public to realize the benefits of new transport technologies and create a thriving connected and autonomous vehicle sector in the UK. It uses its unique position to bring together world-class expertise from the public, private and academic sectors to create a UK environment for new technologies and business models where innovation, security and regulation are delivered to the ‘unison.


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