A new competition has been launched to offer leading lights from across UK industry the chance to help ensure the country has roads that are fit for the future and ready for the widespread introduction of driverless vehicles.
Launched by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) in association with Highways England (HE) and the Innovate UK government agency, the ‘Roads for the Future’ competition will seek ideas for making the UK road network ready for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), including using the latest technology.
The competition will look for ideas as to how existing infrastructure can be adapted, how roads shared by driverless and driven vehicles can work, and how these changes can be introduced alongside charging networks for new electric cars. It will also be looking for ideas that can work on different types of roads, whether a residential avenue, a high street or a motorway. Entries will be judged by an expert panel, brought together from across industry, academia, regional government, and the public sector.
Anyone wishing to enter the competition has until March 14 to submit their ideas, which should follow three broad themes:
• The design of roads and related infrastructure – how will existing roads need to be adapted to meet the needs of new driverless cars?
• Traffic management – how will key features such as traffic lights and other methods of traffic control need to adapt to meet the needs of different vehicle types?
• Road rules and regulations – how should current restrictions (for example speed limits and parking and loading rules) be updated for this new environment?
The competition jury will select the five best entries to go through to a second round, with each of these given up to £30,000 (US$41,350) to develop their ideas further over a three-month period. The winning entry will then be announced later this year.
“We’re seeing a revolution on our roads, as more and more people move away from the traditional petrol and diesel car and toward new electric vehicles; the next step, driverless cars, will make an even bigger impact,” explained the NIC’s deputy chairman, Sir John Armitt.
“Our ‘Roads for the Future’ competition offers the chance to be at the cutting edge of shaping how we travel for generations to come. That’s why we want to put people’s minds to this test. Whether from industry or academia, we want to see them submit their ideas for developing a world-class roads network that can meet the challenge that this new technology presents.”