£40m UK government grant proposed to help self-driving buses, shuttles and delivery vans in UK

A new £40million competition to launch commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, was launched today by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment. The funding could create tens of thousands of skilled jobs across the UK over the next decade.

The ‘Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility’ competition will award grants to help deploy autonomous vehicles for commercial use across the UK from 2025, providing convenience to consumers and making travel safer, greener and more reliable .

The competition will help bring companies and investors together so that sustainable business models are rolled out domestically and exported globally.

The types of autonomous vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that transport people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.

Investment Minister Lord Grimstone said: “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize people’s lives, whether by helping to better connect people who depend on public transport with jobs, local businesses and vital services, or making it easier for those with mobility issues to easily order and access services.

“This funding will help unlock the incredible potential of this new and growing industry, building on the continued development of self-driving technology, attracting investment and helping to make our transportation cleaner, safer and more efficient. more effective.”

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “We know that autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize the way we travel, making our future journeys cleaner, easier and more reliable. But our top priority is to harness technology to improve road safety.

“With approximately 88% of traffic collisions currently caused by human error, this funding will support the introduction of new technologies to improve travel for all, while stimulating economic growth and high-skilled jobs across the country.”

The competition will cement the UK’s reputation as a world leader in autonomous vehicle technology, unlocking a new industry that could be worth £42bn to the UK economy by 2035, potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs .

£1.5m of the funding will be used to study and explore the use of self-driving vehicles as a means of public transport which could provide an alternative to mass transit systems. This includes, for example, the use of autonomous vehicles on routes separated from other traffic which could be cheaper and more flexible than new rail lines.

The UK government continues to develop a comprehensive legal and insurance framework for autonomous vehicles to ensure the technology is safe. The Government announced a Transport Bill in the recent Queen’s Speech which will introduce comprehensive legislation for autonomous vehicles to enable safe and responsible deployment.

The first vehicles to be listed as autonomous in the UK – vehicles approved under the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Regulations – could be available to buy, hire or lease later this year. Vehicles will undergo rigorous testing and will only be allowed to drive themselves if they have met strict standards.

The work undertaken by the government and its partners has already resulted in the UK having a proven track record of connected and autonomous vehicle innovation, enabling a joint public and private investment of £440 million.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Autonomous vehicles offer major benefits to society – improving road safety, supporting new jobs and economic growth, and enabling greater mobility. for all – so the UK rightly seeks to be at the forefront of this technological development. Recent regulatory reforms have helped Britain establish itself as a leader in the deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles, and today’s announcement is an important step towards realizing autonomous public transport and services. delivery of goods.

“This new funding competition will help spur innovation and, potentially, private investment in UK motoring, ensuring cutting-edge self-driving technology finds a clearer path to UK roads.”

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