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Dyson’s driverless car campus gets £200m upgrade

Written by Hannah McGrath

Dyson has released details of plans to extend its £200 million self-driving vehicle testing programme at an airfield in Wiltshire.

The household appliance firm, founded by engineer James Dyson, has applied to build a 10 mile test track for its electric vehicle project as it launches the second phase of plans to develop self-driving car technology.

Planning application documents propose further work to restore a number of world war two aircraft hangars to create larger engineering work spaces for the 400 staff members who have recently moved onto the site, with planned capacity for 2,000 people.

The vehicle test tracks are spread across a 45,000 square metre development and include plans for a dynamic handling track to test the steering and brakes of the vehicles as well as offroad routes that simulate soft and varied terrain.

In September last year, the company revealed that it had spent three years developing an electric driverless vehicle and would be investing £2 billion into the project, with a launch date planned for 2021.

Dyson has already invested £84 million in converting two 1938 hangars into engineering work spaces as part of the first phase of its development of the testing facility. The company plans to recruit a further 300 automotive staff in the coming months.

Commenting after the planning documents for the site were submitted, Dyson chief executive Jim Rowan said: “It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we hope to invest £200m, creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain.

“We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organisation,” he added.