Nathan Jardine writes leaders for The Information Daily and Council News Monitor. After a lifetime in Fleet Street he now divides his time between homes in France and the north-west of England. He enjoys drinking, eating, sleeping and poking fun. His autobiography A Dog's Life is unaccountably out of print.


£51m government investment in autonomous vehicle development


© smoothgroover22, Self-Driving Car, May 2014

Across UK, the Government is handing out part of a £100m fund to invest in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing facilities.

Four projects across the UK are the first to receive money from a £100m government programme aimed at investing in the development of CAV testing facilites and environments.

The chosen projects are set to get £51m in total. The investment provided by the government programme will be matched by investment from commercial sources.

The government funding will be carved up between projects aimed at different types of testing. £20m will go to building testing facilities for autonomous vehicles, with the other £31m being used for "real-world locations" to test self-driving cars in live traffic.

Of the testing facility funding, £13m will go to a collaborative project between engineering firm Horiba Mira and Coventry University. This money will be used to build a facility where autonomous vehicles "can be tested at the limits of their speed", according to a government source.

The remaining £6.9m will be given to Bedford-based vehicle testing firm Millbrook Proving Ground. They will work in collaboration with Oxford's Culham Science Centre to develop a range of test areas that will simulate realistic city driving environments.

The other funding will be split between two live traffic projects. A selection of private and public organizations will take part in the Smart Mobility Living Lab. This will receive £13.4m, creating two live-testing sites in Greenwich and the Olympic Park in Stratford. 

Lastly, the biggest portion of the funding to be handed out in this first wave will go to a Warwick Manufacturing Group-headed project. This £17.6m pot will be used to develop similar live-traffic style environments.

Greg Clark, the Business and Energy secretary, 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.”

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