Driverless cars trial in UK receive funding boost
© Oxbotica

Driverless car trials in UK receive funding boost

Connected and autonomous vehicle technology in the UK will take another step forward following the announcement of funding under the banner of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Three of the chosen projects under the driverless cars stream of ISCF are supported by experts from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

The announcement made by business secretary Greg Clark confirmed the award of the funding for industry-led research and development projects to deliver the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) and control systems.

TRL’s involvement in the project consortia will see the organisation’s experts provide guidance on key safety, insurance and technology verification elements.

Rob Wallis, CEO at TRL, said: “We continue to see a major industry shift towards automation, connectivity and the electrification of vehicles, and the use of shared mobility schemes.

“Such market disruption is transforming the way people will travel, especially in cities, and it is vital that the UK remains at the forefront of this development.”

The consortia in which TRL will be involved include Driven – a project that will see a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles being deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford.

Oxford-based AI Company Oxbotica is leading the Driven consortium, which benefits from an £8.6m (~€10.15m) grant awarded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered through Innovate UK.

Professor Paul Newman, head of the Oxford Robotics Institute based at the University of Oxford, and one of Oxbotica’s founders, said: “Driven is the first of its kind and brings a host of new questions surrounding the way these vehicles will communicate with each other.

“We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle, to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting to us at the Oxford Robotics Institute is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.”