Say what you like about driverless cars, but the government seems pretty set on making them A Thing: business secretary Sajid Javid has unveiled a £20m fund to help those developing the technology.
Eight projects focused on developing technology to create "enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems" will share the cash, Javid announced at a test track in Nuneaton today. Figures suggest the intelligent mobility market will be worth £900bn a year by 2025.
The projects, which range from autonomous shuttles to ways of carrying visually impaired passengers, are part of the government's £100m Intelligent Mobility Fund.
Las week, Greenwich's Gateway scheme said it will begin testing driverless "pods" on the streets of the south London borough this summer.
“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.
"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."
Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, added: “Britain is uniquely placed to become a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicle development, technology that has the potential to generate around £51bn for the UK economy, save 2,500 lives and generate 320,000 jobs."
|Driving the future? Javid's driverless car stars|
1. UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment
Equipping more than 40 miles of roads with "talking car technologies".
Designing driverless shuttles for city pedestrian areas, focusing on urban accessibility for disabled and visually-impaired people.
3. Tools for autonomous logistics operation and management
Snappily-titled project bringing together computer games designers and transport modellers to boost the return of connected and autonomous vehicles fleets.
Bristol-based project building new tools to help understand the needs of driverless car users.
Accelerating the development of automated driving systems.
6. Innovative Testing of Autonomous Control Vehicles (Intact)
Reducing the cost of testing and evaluating autonomous control systems.
7. Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles
Finding ways to monitor information from driverless vehicles and predict safety risks based on analytics.
A "connected Vehicle to Anything" system, created via a mobile platform, as well as hardware designed to receive and analyse sensory data in realtime.