Innovate UK has announced that "UK Autodrive "a consortium of local authorities, the UK’s leading technology and automotive businesses and academic institutions, has won the UK Government’s £10m "Introducing Driverless Cars" competition.
The aim of the project is to establish the UK as a global hub for the development of autonomous vehicle technologies and to integrate driverless vehicles into existing urban environments by trialling them in two major UK cities. Not only will the program help develop the new protocols and connected infrastructure required to deliver future autonomous mobility, it will allow the UK Autodrive team to test public reaction to both driverless cars and self-driving pods, according to the group.
The funding provided by Innovate UK will be matched by the 12 consortium members to create a £19.2m three-year project, which will be led by design and engineering consultants Arup. UK Autodrive said it will deliver a program of feasibility studies and practical demonstrations in Milton Keynes and Coventry, where the city councils are taking the lead in developing the urban infrastructure technologies required to support driverless mobility.
The feasibility studies will consider the significant implications and challenges of introducing autonomous vehicles from a technical, social, and economic perspective. The studies will provide insights for vehicle manufacturers, cities, commercial operators, legislators, and insurers to develop the legal framework for the roll-out of autonomous mobility.
On-road testing will include the real-world evaluation of passenger cars with increasing levels of autonomy, as well as the development and evaluation of lightweight fully autonomous self-driving pods designed for pedestrianized spaces.
The partners in the UK Autodrive consortium are Arup, Milton Keynes Council, Coventry Council, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Motor Company, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, RDM Group, MIRA, Thales (UK), Oxbotica, AXA, international law firm Wragge-Lawrence-Graham, the Transport Systems Catapult, the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and the Open University.