Connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology in the UK will take another leap forward, following the announcement of new government funding under the banner of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), with the country’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) a major beneficiary.
The announcement was made by UK Business Secretary Greg Clark who confirmed the award of £38m (US$48.5m) for industry-led research and development projects to deliver the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) and control systems for CAVs. Three of the chosen projects under the driverless cars stream of ISCF will be supported by TRL, with its involvement in the project consortia seeing the organization’s experts providing guidance on key safety, insurance and technology verification elements.
The consortia in which TRL will be involved include DRIVEN, an ambitious project led by Oxbotica that will see a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles being deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford. A key area of focus will be the development of an automated system to radically transform how insurance and autonomous vehicles will work together in connected cities.
“To support the successful adoption of CAVs, it is important to consider all of the elements around safety, insurance, and traffic management, alongside the technology itself,” explained Iwan Parry, head of insurance at TRL.
“Through DRIVEN, we will work with consortia partners to develop a structure for an integrated transport approach that sees vehicles connect seamlessly to urban traffic control systems. Innovative and dynamic insurance methodologies are also vital to ensure a confident reception to CAVs on UK roads.”
TRL will also be involved in Streetwise, a project to develop and demonstrate the technology, safety validation methods, insurance, and service models, for delivering an autonomous personal mobility system targeted at replacing the urban commuter car. The focus is on reducing costs, cutting accident rates, lowering emissions, and minimizing congestion.
Rob Wallis, TRL’s CEO, commented, “We continue to see a major industry shift toward automation, connectivity, and electrification of vehicles, and the use of shared mobility schemes. Such market disruption is transforming the way people will travel, especially in cities, and it is vital that the UK remains at the forefront of this development. We believe the UK government’s CAV ambitions, in partnership with British businesses, remains critical in ensuring the UK plays its role as a major global innovator within this fast-changing market.”