Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
Connected and autonomous vehicle technologies are set to transform our roads and could offer huge benefits including improved road safety, traffic flow, efficiency and mobility, together with significant opportunities for UK industry. We want to ensure the UK is at the forefront of these developments and we will work with industry and road network managers to understand the changes necessary to make this a reality, including improved connectivity on the road network.
Our regulatory framework already supports real-world testing of automated vehicle technologies, and our world-leading ‘test anywhere’ approach, which encourages co-operation between a variety of organisations, is helping to attract international companies to test their vehicles on our roads. We are keen to ensure that we are acting at speed to put in place the necessary regulatory framework to enable the safe sale and use of this technology, and will be taking forward a rolling programme of reform, engaging with industry and international partners to identify where to focus our efforts.
We have also provided over £100 million of funding to support research, development and real-world demonstrations of connected and autonomous vehicles, matched by industry. Our driverless car trials have commenced public demonstrations in Milton Keynes, and projects in Bristol, Greenwich and Coventry will go live soon. In February 2016 we awarded £20 million to 21 new collaborative research and development projects, and in August 2016 we launched a further £35 million research competition, one part of which involves a grand challenge demonstration of a highly autonomous vehicle operating in a variety of conditions on public roads.
We are consolidating this effort to assert a world leadership position in the demonstration and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. In his 2016 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced £100 million for new connected and autonomous vehicle testing infrastructure. The funding will be used to develop a high impact programme (to be matched by industry up to £200 million) over four years to provide a globally competitive testing ecosystem for these technologies by strengthening and integrating our existing centres of excellence.