Four UK cities have been given £10M of funding to test driverless cars.
The investment from Innovate UK was announced by chancellor George Osborne in the autumn statement.
The cities selected are:
- Greenwich, London
- Milton Keynes and Coventry (working together as one project)
The cities will run formal trials that will last between 18 and 36 months from January 2015.
The Greenwich project, Gateway, is led by transport consultant TRL, with other team members including the Royal Borough of Greenwich, energy giant Shell and telecoms firm Telefonica.
The Bristol pilot will be run by the Venturer organisation, which includes Atkins, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Formula 1 specialist Williams Advanced Engineering, University of the West of England, and University of Bristol.
Coventry and Milton Keynes will host the UK Autodrive consortium, whose members include car manufacturers Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, plus Coventry council, Milton Keynes council, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the Open University.
A statement from Innovate UK, which is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, said: “Testing driverless cars in a real-world environment will help lead to greater levels of understanding of these vehicles. It will also allow the public to accept how the vehicles will fit into everyday life.”
Nick Jones, lead technologist for the low carbon vehicle innovation platform at Innovate UK, said: “Cars that drive themselves would represent the most significant transformation in road travel since the introduction of the internal combustion engine and at Innovate UK, we want to help the UK to lead the world in making that happen.
“There are so many new and exciting technologies that can come together to make driverless cars a reality, but it’s vital that trials are carried out safely, that the public have confidence in that technology and we learn everything we can through the trials so that legal, regulation and protection issues don’t get in the way in the future.”