Funding will pay for research and development into autonomous vehicles

Sajid Javid Carousel USE

The government has launched a £20m fund for research and development into driverless vehicles.

The fund, which interested parties will have to compete for, is part of the £100m earmarked for driverless vehicle research n the Spring 2015 Budget.

The funding is designed to put the UK at the forefront of the driverless vehicle market, which the government said would be worth £900bn by 2025.

The fund follows the launch of driverless car trials in the UK in February, and the publication of a code of practice for testing the vehicles by the Department for Transport this month.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said: “To boost productivity Britain will need to capitalise on new technologies like driverless vehicles, securing high skilled jobs for those who want to work hard and get on, and contributing to a more prosperous future for the whole of the country.

“Our world beating automotive industry, strengths in innovation and light touch regulatory approach to testing driverless technology combine to make the UK market competitive and an attractive destination for investors.”

Transport minister Andrew Jones added: “Driverless cars will bring great benefits to our society and economy and I want the UK to lead the way in developing this exciting technology.

“Our code of practice clearly shows that the UK is in the best position when it comes to testing driverless cars and embracing the motoring of the future. We now look forward to working with industry to make this a reality.

In addition to the funding, the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have set up a new joint policy unit to coordinate government policy on driverless cars and connected policy.

The government said that the new unit, called the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C-CAV), is working on a range of technological developments, including plans to test new roadside communication technology to improve traffic flow and safety through ‘connected corridors’.


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