UK government offers £30m new funding for driverless car projects
UK government puts £30m funding up for grabs for autonomous driving vehicles
The UK wants to become the most effective development ecosystem in the world for autonomous and connected cars

UK government offers £30m new funding for driverless car projects

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), a government initiative with Innovate UK and Meridian Mobility, has put up £30 million in new funding for connected and autonomous vehicle development in the UK.

The money is available for businesses and research organisations through two separate competitions that support the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles, and aim to encourage their long-term development.

£5m for one project

In the first competition, there is up to £5 million available for a single project that supports the sharing and trading of data generated by transport infrastructure, connected or autonomous vehicles, or relevant third parties. The platform will need to be able to cope with huge increases in data volumes and formats, and be intuitive to use.

Applications need to demonstrate a clear path to commercial viability, best practice in data ethics, security and privacy – including compliance with GDPR/the Data Protection Act – and the use of emerging technologies, such as blockchain.

Projects must also generate or use real-world data, represent the target environment in the UK and other appropriate global markets, and include suitable hardware to support connected and autonomous vehicle deployments.

In addition, the project must support integration and collaboration across the UK’s entire connected transport ecosystem, and those behind the project must contribute to a data working group that will inform and influence subsequent policy and standards.

The £25m question

The second competition is for the remaining £25 million – funding set aside for up to six projects for facilities to support the testing of connected or autonomous vehicles on public highways and rural roads, and in different parking environments.

Applicants are encouraged to enter the competition in one of four themed areas:

  • Controlled test environments that represent highways and the common features of road junctions. The government will fund one facility in this area.
  • A continuous public test environment, including highways and rural roads that connect to existing urban test sites. The government will fund one or two such environments.
  • Controlled parking test environments that are realistic and representative of current and future infrastructure for automated parking. The government will fund one facility in this area.
  • Public test environments for autonomous vehicle parking. The government will fund one to two environments.

In addition, all projects must be carried out in a defined geographical area that covers parts of the West Midlands through to the South East of England. The competition is open and the deadline for registrations is midday on 29 August 2018.

Plus: Waymo trials cars in Europe

In related news, Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous car division, has completed its first trial of driverless technologies in Europe. The demonstration, its first anywhere outside of the US, involved completely driverless cars, and took place at Italy’s Balocco Proving Ground, operated by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, on 1 June.

Internet of Business says

Brexit aside, 2018 will certainly go down as the year when the UK government finally got its act together on a range of new technologies, such as AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicles. But while significant, the sums available from Whitehall and its agencies are invariably small in global terms, especially when China is pouring billions of dollars into the same technologies – in some cases dwarfing other countries’ entire national investments in a single city or project.