Govt awards £22m to autonomous vehicle schemes including driverless valet parking


Autonomous valet parking and driverless Mobility as a Service (MaaS) schemes are among the winners of more than £20m of government funding for 22 connected and autonomous vehicle (CAVs) R&D projects to shape the future of UK transport.

The £22.4m investment brings the total number of government funded R&D projects in self-driving vehicles to 73, in a portfolio worth around £180m with over £120m of government grants.

The consortia Parkopedia Limited plans to use its cash allocation to develop autonomous valet parking (AVP) systems that will allow a car to park itself after being left at a final destination.

The consortium aims to develop an AVP capability supported by a mobile application to issue ‘park and summon’ commands to the vehicle. The project will be led by Parkopedia Limited in partnership with the Transport Systems Catapult and the University Of Surrey.

While T-CABS will use its funding to build a fleet of 15 seat autonomous pods and use them to demonstrate a fare paying public transport service on the Cambridge Guided Busway serving Trumpington Park and Ride, Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the central railway station.

The cash will also support off-road autonomous vehicles that could help boost productivity in the construction and mining industries.

Projects that will recieve cash include schemes to allow self-driving vehicles to function in extreme conditions, such as where weather visibility is so poor human drivers would struggle to navigate.

Automotive minister Richard Harrington announced the latest round of CAV funding, including projects from major names such as Jaguar Land Rover and Caterpillar.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the cash was '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'.

Mr 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 modern 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.'

The Government also confirmed that it will be launching further competitions later this year worth up to £45m in total. These include the second CAV testing infrastructure competition with Meridian, the UK’s CAV coordination hub, and a further CAV R&D competition.

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