UK to invest in driverless vehicles

On July 24, Greg Clark, the UK government’s business and energy secretary, confirmed the launch of the third Connected Autonomous Vehicles research and development competition
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Driverless trucks at a Rio Tinto mine in Australia

Ailbhe Goodbody

For the first time the government is making funding available to off-road driverless innovation. Funding of £25 million (US$32.5 million) will be made available to new projects, with investments earmarked for cutting-edge projects that will grow the commercial potential of off-road driverless technology and develop technologies that will increase productivity and improve mobility in a range of sectors including mining, construction and farming.

The UK government has already invested more than £100 million of research and development funding in over 50 connected and autonomous vehicle projects across the country to help UK businesses and universities take advantage of the huge commercial opportunities in this area.

“This investment will support the unlocking of a potential step change in safety and efficiency gains in these core industrial sectors,” commented Chris Jackson, head of transport at independent UK law firm Burges Salmon. “The safety and economic benefits of connected and autonomous vehicle technology (both surface and air) are already being seen and realised, particularly in the agricultural industry, and the extension of those technologies into more challenging factory, on site and underground environments is a reflection of those benefits. With this investment, the UK can take a leading role in the development of this new wave of industrial off-road technology as well as on the road.”