Two of the organizations leading UK research into connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are welcoming the investment that was announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget.
Hammond re-affirmed the government’s commitment to self-driving technologies, with ambitions to see them on the country’s roads by 2021.
The Chancellor noted that future vehicles will be driver-less, but electric first. His budget included a new £400m (US$532m) electric vehicle (EV) re-charging infrastructure fund, an extra £100m (US$133m) for the Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40m (US$53m) in charging research and development.
There was also a promise of £500m (US$665m) in funding in emerging technology, such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), while an additional £2.3bn (US$3bn) for R&D was confirmed.
We welcome the continued investment and commitment toward autonomous vehicles and electrification proposed in the budget,” noted TRL’s academy director, Richard Cuerden (right).
“Autonomous and electric vehicles will form the backbone of future mobility in the UK and, if integrated successfully, will prevent thousands of road casualties and significantly reduce air pollution and congestion.
“Much research and development is required before fully-driverless vehicles become commonplace on our roads, but the measures announced today will help bring this vision a significant step closer, and position the UK alongside other nations who are at the forefront of this revolution.”
Cuerden continued, “With the support of the UK government and the development of innovative testbeds, we are confident that we will be helping vehicle manufacturers and mobility service providers to test fully-driverless cars and vehicles on British roads in 2019, with commercial products being available by 2021. The first vehicles may be limited to certain roads and environments, such as motorways or pre-determined routes within cities, but the rate of progress could surprise many in the industry.”
Paul Campion (right), Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) CEO, commented, “The government’s commitment to getting CAVS on road is welcome in the transport industry, where organizations are already working on a wide variety of world-leading projects aimed at getting the UK to the forefront of the transport revolution.
“CAV technology will bring with it the potential for huge gains in safety, efficiency, mobility, productivity and user experience. The development of regulations to allow the testing and use of CAVs has already seen much progress under CCAV (Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles).
“The chancellor’s commitment to accelerate this is exciting for those striving to make this technology a reality. This commitment will be key to promoting the UK as a superb testbed for new transport technologies.”