metamorworks -

Government pumps £18.5m into autonomous vehicles

Government’s funding is part of a £50m pot going to 30 different ‘cutting-edge’ manufacturing projects, with the aim of boosting green technology innovation

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is providing £18.5m to fund 13 different projects focusing on self-driving technologies, products and services.

The money is part of a £50m government drive to boost green technology innovation and the economy and to create more jobs.

The research and development (R&D) grants provided for autonomous vehicles projects aim to ensure the industry is ready for the fourth industrial revolution and aim to transform the way people and goods are moved across the country.

Decarbonisation and technology minister Jesse Norman said that self-driving vehicles “have the potential to transform how we get around, making journeys safer, more convenient and more accessible while also creating skilled jobs”.

“These grant winners underline how the UK is at the cutting edge in developing automated technologies that are not only innovative, but have safety at their heart,” he said.

Projects receiving funding include artificial intelligence (AI) company Wayve who is developing ways of providing safety evidence of AI in self-driving technology and car manufacturer Nissan who is developing self-driving capability in towns and cities.

Another company receiving funding is sensor technology company Zero Point Motion, which is developing an automotive sensor that aims to change how self-driving vehicles position themselves.

In January this year, the CCAV provided £42m in funding, matched by industry for commercial self-driving passenger and freight vehicles.

The government claims that 40% of new UK car sales by 2035 will have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value for connected and automated mobility worth £41.7bn to the UK, creating nearly 40,000 skilled jobs in connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology.

As part of the £50m of funding, the Faraday institution is investing £19m in four projects focused on battery research projects and innovation, including tech company Nexgenna, which aims to improve the performance of sodium-ion batteries.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre is also awarding £11m to 12 projects aiming to accelerate the product development of vehicles. This will be matched by industry funding to develop innovative automotive products within 12 months.

In addition, funding has been awarded to several skills-based projects, including three universities receiving funding to help the regional battery industries addressing their skills needs. Coventry University has also been given funding to create the National Electrifications Skills Forum and Framework.

University College Birmingham and Newcastle University will also get funding to run the Battery Workforce Training Initiative, while £5.5m will be spent on establishing a Medicines Manufacturing Skills Centre of Excellence.

Minister for industry and economic security Nusrat Ghani said the UK’s automotive sector is at the “cutting edge of exploiting innovative technologies”.

“These have the potential to create jobs, grow the economy and accelerate how we reach net zero. This package of funding will help industry and government work together and take decisive action in targeting areas where the UK is leading the way,” Ghani said.

Read more about self-driving vehicles:

Read more on IT for government and public sector

Data Center
Data Management