The Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, working in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board, are to invest up to £10m in collaborative R&D projects to research further how driverless cars can be integrated into everyday life in the UK.
A briefing event, combining networking and consortia-building activities, is expected to be held in London on 30th July.
Almost a year since the government previewed a scoping study for a town and city to host a test site for consumer testing of driverless cars, a competition is expected to be announced next week. Webinars to enable further questions to be asked will be held after the briefing event, and a final consortia building event is expected in September before the competition closes.
Background to the competition
On 16 July 2013, the Secretary of State for Transport presented a report - Action for roads: a network for the 21st century outlining the government’s strategy for roads that included a promise to work to encourage the development and introduction of autonomous vehicles.
The document stated the DfT will commission a scoping study to look at the barriers to implementation and explore opportunities for UK trials.
The Government also promoted Robotics and Autonomous systems as one of the ‘eight great technologies’ for driving UK growth.
Then on 4 December 2013, alongside the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, the Department for Transport stated in its National Infrastructure Plan 2013 that, “Looking forward, driverless cars are innovative technology that will change the way the world’s towns and cities look and the way people travel; they present opportunities for the British automotive industry in the manufacture of the cars and the wider science and engineering sectors in the design of towns. To ensure that UK industry and the wider public benefit from the development of driverless cars, the government announces in the National Infrastructure Plan that it will conduct a review, reporting at the end of 2014, to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework demonstrates to the world’s car companies that the UK is the right place to develop and test driverless cars. It will also create a £10 million prize for a town or city to develop as a testing ground for driverless cars.”
Moving forward to 14 February this year, the Department for Transport in conjunction with the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the Transport Systems Catapult ran a workshop in London that discussed the design of a ‘driverless cars challenge’.
The Transport Systems Catapult is working on trialling pods that will actually drive themselves around Milton Keynes.
At its London event in February, over 80 stakeholders from sectors including local authorities, the insurance industry and the research community attended as well as representatives from The Treasury, Automotive Council and Technology Strategy Board.
The results from the workshop were to be analysed by the Government to produce the scope for the £10m driverless cars challenge which will be launched this month.
Save the date - 30th July for the first briefing and networking event in London. We expect the Technology Strategy Board to provide a live feed of this event if you can’t make it to London in person. This event will provide potential applicants and interested parties with the background and scope of the competition, along with competition guidelines for consortia, and an opportunity to network.
This briefing event will be followed by a couple of webinars for anyone who would like to know more, or can’t make it in person or online on the 30th, and we plan to run an information and networking event in September before the competition closes.
UPDATE 17 JULY: REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
Click here to register to attend the event in London on the 30th July.
Please click here if you can't make it, but would like to attend via webinar (this will simply be a webcast of the event - for the consortia-building and networking you'd need to be there in person).