Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
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Winners of £51 million government competition to develop world-leading self-driving car testing infrastructure unveiled

Government announces winners of funding to upgrade testing infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology.

  • the 4 projects will test the speed, safety and potential opportunities for delivering CAV innovation, helping ensure the UK remains world-leading
  • 4 consortia have been selected in this first round, led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook Proving Ground, TRL and the Warwick Manufacturing Group

Four projects across 5 locations in the West Midlands were yesterday (19 October) awarded a total of £51 million in funding for creating the environments needed to fully test CAV technology.

  • HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton will build a new site alongside its existing vehicle test tracks where automated vehicles can be tested at the limits of their speed and handling to ensure they are safe
  • Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) based in the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire will set up a range of different test areas mimicking increasingly realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads
  • 2 projects will adapt real world locations for testing of automated vehicles in live traffic:
    • TRL will lead a project to set up live test environments in Greenwich and Stratford’s Olympic Park in London
    • Warwick Manufacturing Group will set up real world test environments in Coventry and Birmingham

Reflecting the UK’s ability to compete globally in this hotly contested sector, Jim Hackett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company, opened Ford Europe’s Smart Mobility Innovation Office at the Olympic Park in Stratford recently. It will initially host 40 specialists brought together to develop smart mobility technologies for cities.

All the CAV projects announced yesterday will be fully operational and advancing technology development in this sector within the next 18 to 24 months.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Combining ambitious new technologies and innovative business models to address social and economic challenges lies at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Accelerating connected and autonomous vehicle technology development is central to achieving this ambition and will help to ensure the UK is one of the world’s go-to locations to develop this sector.

These projects, backed by government, form part of a globally unique cluster running from our automotive heartlands in the West Midlands, down through our innovation centres in Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, through to London, Europe’s only megacity.

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