The Government is planning imminent steps to begin the testing of autonomous driving technology on the UKs roads, with over 40 miles of tarmac being allocated for the trials. The trial is being funded by a consortium of manufacturers as well as communication based companies, and will run over three years with a budget believed to be part of a £20m grant, with £5.6m allocated.
The project which has been called the UK-CITE (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment), will be carried out across areas of Coventry and Solihull, and will include a series of wireless sensors on various types of roads such as motorways, A-roads and town and city roads.
These will connect and communicate with over 100 autonomous vehicles and report back on the ability of these vehicles to help ease congestion during busy times.
Other autonomous projects include a £2.2m fund allocated for the development of a driverless shuttle to operate in city centre environments and provide transport for the disabled and visually impaired. This concept has already been tested to a degree in Milton Keynes as driverless pod initiatives.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner. 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.
“Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a landmark moment and will allow Britain to lead the way in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.”