Government backs self-driving cars with £150m funding

Cash will support work Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, which aims to support development of commercial market for self-driving cars – which could be on the road in two years

Government has announced up to £150m in support for the development of autonomous vehicles.  

Running until 2030, the funding aims to solidify the UK as a world leader in the deployment of the technology. Government has previously set a target of enabling commercial self-driving vehicles to get on the road by 2025.

Part of the Advanced Manufacturing Plan (AMP), the recent investment is intended to support the connected and autonomous mobility industry to expand into sectors such as agriculture and defence.   

Matched by industry funding, the nine-figure investment will support the work of the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). Since 2015, the agency has invested more than £500m in over 100 projects, including the CAVForth programme – the UK’s first self-driving bus, which runs from Edinburgh to Fife. 

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The CCAV said that the cash boost will help deliver its ambition to “to create an early commercial market and secure first mover advantage in the deployment of self-driving vehicles and services” across the UK.

The announcement follows a recent report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which claimed that the sector could bring 340,000 additional jobs and a £66bn return by 2040. 

However, for such estimates to be realised, the society warned that government must introduce appropriate regulation.

The King’s Speech earlier this month reflected a commitment to do so as King Charles set the foundations for the Automated Vehicles Bill. The framework to regulate the deployment of self-driving vehicles is currently passing through the House of Lords.  

Sofia Villegas and PublicTechnology staff

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