UK government funding supports development of next generation vehicles

Aiming to boost the development of connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK, the government announced last week that eight projects will receive £20m of funding.

The funding, which will be matched by industry, supports projects to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car’ technologies, said Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

One project, UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE), involves equipping over 40 miles of urban roads, A-roads and motorways with wireless sensors which will communicate with up to 100 different connected and autonomous vehicles. The aim is to establish how this technology can improve journeys, reduce traffic congestion, and provide entertainment and safety services through better connectivity.

Other projects range from developing autonomous shuttles to carry visually-impaired passengers using advanced sensors and control systems, to new simulation trials for autonomous pods to increase uptake and improve real-world trials.

“Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner,” Javid said in a statement. “They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the new funding will allow the UK to “lead the way” in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.

He added: “These projects will help profoundly change the way we travel within years, transforming our roads by making travel a simpler experience for drivers, reducing accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly.”

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