Self-driving vehicle trial cities announced

Written by Peter Walker

People in London and Edinburgh will soon be the first in the UK to experience self-driving vehicle services as part of three new public trials announced by business and energy secretary Greg Clark.

The projects will allow the public to ride autonomous buses on a 14-mile route across the Forth Bridge, as well as book self-driving taxis to travel around parts of London.

They were selected following a competitive process and will share a £25 million government grant through the fourth round of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Intelligent Mobility Fund.

The pilots include companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Addison Lee, Fusion Processing, Oxbotica, and the universities of Nottingham and the West of England, all supporting the government’s ambition to have self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

Business secretary Greg Clark said: “Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.

“All the projects will include social behavioural research to further explore how driverless technology can seamlessly integrate into society, with the findings applied to the development for future autonomous service models,” he added.

To further strengthen the environment for testing and development of self-driving technologies, £18 million is also being awarded to four successful projects through the Meridian 2 and 3 competition.

The Meridian 2 project will develop a digital platform to allow the exchange of data which technology developers and fleet operators can use to deliver better transport systems, while the Meridian 3 projects will focus on developing controlled test environments for highways, and public test environments for highways and rural roads.