Government invests £51m in driverless car schemes
Projects to build testing facilities across the UK receive chunks of £100m funding pot
The GATEway project is currently piloting driverless vehicle technology in Greenwich Credit: PA
The government has dished out £51m in funding to four projects working on the development of self-driving cars.
The quartet of initiatives are all related to testing connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology. The first will see engineering firm Horiba Mira and Coventry University given a total of £13m to build a new facility where autonomous vehicles “can be tested at the limits of their speed”, the government said.
Meanwhile, Bedford-based vehicle-testing facility Millbrook Proving Ground will work with Oxford’s Culham Science Centre to “set up a range of different test areas mimicking increasingly realistic city driving environments”, a project for which the government will supply £6.9m of funding.
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The other two projects to receive funding will see “real-world locations” adapted to test self-driving cars in live traffic. A range of public and private bodies will take part in the Smart Mobility Living Lab project, which will get £13.4m of government cash to create two live-testing sites in London, in Greenwich and the Olympic Park in Stratford.
A Warwick Manufacturing Group-headed project to developing similar environments in Coventry and Birmingham will receive the biggest slice of funding: £17.6m.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition, and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector.”
The four chosen projects are the first to receive money from a £100m government programme that was launched in November 2016 to invest in CAV-testing facilities. For each project, the government’s contributions will be matched by investment from commercial entities.
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