Gov launches £40m fund for self-driving buses and delivery vehicles

The UK government has launched a £40 million competition fund to propel the roll out of commercial self-driving services across the UK from 2025.

The competition will cement the UK’s reputation as a global leader in self-driving vehicle technology, the government has said.

It is anticipated the industry could be worth £42 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and create 38,000 new skilled jobs.

Launched by Lord Grimstone, the minister for investment, the fund will help bring the likes of delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles to UK roads while bringing companies and investors together to formulate sustainable business models for the self-driving vehicle industry.

“This funding will help unlock the incredible potential of this new and growing industry, building on the continued development of self-driving technology, attracting investment and helping make our transport cleaner, safer and more efficient,” Lord Grimstone said.

Following the announcement of a Transport Bill in the recent Queen’s Speech, the government is developing a comprehensive legal and assurance framework for self-driving vehicles to ensure the technology’s safety.

The first vehicles to be listed as self-driving in the UK could be available for people to purchase, lease or rent later this year. All vehicles will undergo rigorous testing before they are deemed roadworthy, the government said.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Recent regulatory reforms have helped Britain establish itself as a leader in the rollout out of self-driving passenger vehicles, and today’s announcement is a significant step towards self-driving public transport and goods delivery services becoming a reality.”

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