The UK’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) has launched a funding competition to win a share of the £55m (US$68.5m) of investment that is being made available to make the UK’s connected and autonomous vehicle testing ecosystem the world’s most effective.
CCAV is a joint policy unit of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT), which has the aim of ensuring that the UK is a world leader in developing and testing connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). CCAV has a total of £100m (US$124.7m) to invest in CAV testbed infrastructure, and the program is being supported by Innovate UK, the country’s innovation agency.
This first funding competition is part of the overall testbed program for the government’s long-term Industrial Strategy. CCAV is expecting to invest between £7m-£18m (US$8.7m-US$22.4m) per project, depending on the competition stream, and it expects to support up to four projects. CCAV says preference will be given to projects that can deliver operational facilities and be open for business within 12 to 18 months.
The UK has a strong automotive and technology heartland that runs from the West Midlands through to Europe’s only megacity, London. CCAV says the projects should look to build on these strengths, integrating existing proving grounds and public road test sites to improve capabilities and create new ones, and develop a national cluster of excellence. Projects will be supported through investment aid for research infrastructures, which is a form of state aid and is limited to 50% of the investment costs. Organizations must work with others, but consortia should contain no more than five partners. A business or research organization may lead the project.
UK businesses and research organizations can make applications in three streams:
Stream 1 is looking for projects that develop a public test environment in an urban, high-density city location. Up to £35m (US$43.6m) is available to support up to two projects;
Stream 2 – is looking to fund one controlled test facility that is representative of an urban or city environment. Examples might be a semi-controlled environment, such as a university campus or science and industry park, or a simulator that incorporates physical elements into a virtual environment. Up to £7m (US$8.7m) is available;
Stream 3 is looking to fund one realistic, controlled high-speed, limit-handling environment. This environment is expected to allow the creation of a diverse range of test scenarios. This may include vehicle to everything (V2X) interactions, collision avoidance and limit handling. Simulators may also be included. Up to £13m (US$16.2m) is available.
The competition’s registration deadline is midday on July 12, and the application deadline is midday on July 19. Entrants must be a UK-based business, work collaboratively, and carry out the project in the UK. Test facilities should meet specified criteria, that are outlined in the competition brief available from Innovate UK.