Automotive Minister Richard Harrington announces Industrial Strategy funding for off-road self-driving vehicles which could revolutionise the mining and construction sectors
Off-road autonomous vehicles that will operate in some of the most extreme environments and cold revolutionise productivity in the construction and mining industries is just one of the projects support by government in the latest round of autonomous vehicle funding.
Automotive Minister Richard Harrington has announced a total of 22 projects that will be supported through the latest round of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) funding, including projects from sector-leading companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and Caterpillar.
The £22.4 million of government funding will also be used on projects to develop technology that will allow self-driving vehicles to function in situations where weather visibility is so poor human drivers would struggle to navigate, while other projects will look to trial autonomous ‘Mobility as a Service (Maas) services in London, Cambridge and Didcot.
The funding builds on the government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to ensure the UK is a world-leader in new technologies that will boost our competitiveness, and is a central part of our Future of Mobility Grand Challenge which includes a commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.
Richard Harrington said: “Through these competitions, we are offering innovative businesses support to take their projects to the next level and help them achieve commercial success. The projects that we are nurturing mean that we are a step closer to securing our place as a world leader in self-driving vehicles.
“This significant investment is a mark of the innovation that is at the heart of our moderns Industrial Strategy.
“The development of new technologies is a cornerstone of the UK’s world-class science and research and will ensure that we deliver a Britain fit for the future by creating jobs and the skills needed to succeed.”
Other projects include looking into solving drivers’ parking woes with the consortia Parkopedia Limited using their funding to develop autonomous valet parking systems (AVP) which will allow drivers to leave their car at their final destination and the car will park itself.
T-Cabs will use its funding to build a fleet of 15 seat pods and use them to demonstrate a fare paying public transport service in Cambridge.
These investments mean the UK Government is now supporting 73 connected and autonomous vehicle R&D projects; a portfolio worth around £180 million.
Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “The quality and commercial potential of these successful projects demonstrate how UK businesses are developing pioneering connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. The impact will benefit our thriving automotive industry and the economy as a whole.”
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