Categories: Tech News

The funding boost aims to put self-driving cars on UK roads by 2025

Fully autonomous vehicles could be on UK roads by 2025 as part of a government legislative push, backed by £100m of public funding for safety research.

According to the government’s 2025 timetable, self-driving cars would not require anyone on board to have a driver’s license.

Cars, coaches and trucks with driverless capability could be bought and allowed on motorways as soon as next year, the government said. However, they would still require an operator with a valid driver’s license.

Proposed government legislation could hold vehicle manufacturers responsible for accidents while in self-driving mode instead of passengers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We want the UK to be at the forefront of the development and use of this fantastic technology, which is why we are investing millions in vital safety research and setting up legislation to ensure that we get the full benefits of this technology. technological promises.”

According to the government, the autonomous vehicle market could create 38,000 jobs and be worth up to £42 billion.

Of the £100m, £34m will be used for “research to support safety developments and inform more detailed legislation”, such as how autonomous vehicles behave in bad weather.

Meanwhile, £20m is being allocated to fund commercial self-driving services, with £6m dedicated to market research and commercialization of the technology.

Impulse for the launch of driverless cars

The government’s announcement has been welcomed by startups developing the technology that powers driverless cars.

“This commitment takes us one step closer to unlocking a safer, smarter and more sustainable transport system and we’re incredibly excited to be paving the way for self-driving technology in the UK,” said a spokesperson for Wayve, a British startup that develops cameras to map a vehicle’s surroundings.

While automakers like Tesla are building the autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, components and software are crucial to the industry.

Increasingly, these startups are being acquired by larger players, such as Cambridge-based Five AI, which was acquired by appliance maker Bosch in April for an undisclosed sum.

Birmingham-based We Are Universal (WAU) is helping drive the autonomous driving push with its e-bike that collects mapping data for self-driving vehicles.

“This funding will help unlock the incredible potential of this industry, attract investment, develop the UK’s growing autonomous vehicle supply chain and support high-skilled jobs as these new modes of transport take off develop,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The investment in the industry coincides with a report released today by the Center for Data Ethics and Innovation that found manufacturers need to better understand autonomous vehicle regulations and gain public trust.

The government’s Responsible Innovation in Autonomous Vehicles report includes proposals for regulating the technology and updating the current regulations.

It follows a call earlier this year by UK business figures to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call for legislation to support the development of autonomous vehicles.


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