Milton Keynes based Transport Systems Catapult has welcomed and praised the announcement by Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Transport Minister Andrew Jones of a £20 million competitive fund for collaborative research and development into self-driving vehicles. The Department for Transport also announced a code of practice for testing the vehicles. The code of practice provides industry with the framework they need to safely trial cars in real-life scenarios, and to create more sophisticated versions of the models that already exist.
The Transport Systems Catapult is overseeing the LUTZ Pathfinder programme which will see the trial of three driverless vehicles in Milton Keynes in the near future. The project will assess their feasibility from both a technical and societal point of view. Transport Systems Catapult CEO Steve Yianni believes the new funds and focused policy work will allow the UK to continue driving technological development in this area.
“Our Lutz Pathfinder project is paving the way for the wider roll-out of automated transport in the coming years. The new code of practice, coupled with the dedicated policy team will go a long way to helping accelerate this process. We believe this initiative will cement the UKs position as a leading centre for research and development of driverless cars.
Self-driving vehicles are seen by many as the future of personal transport, with the eventual promise of fully-automated vehicles expected to bring significant societal benefits. Road safety is perhaps the most important factor, as it has been estimated that human error is at least partly responsible for more than 90% of today’s road accidents.”
The government has also set in motion plans to establish a Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C-CAV) to co-ordinate government work and help overcome obstacles to getting autonomous vehicles on UK roads. Steve Yianni commented:
“The establishment of C-CAV is a great step forward for this technology and will help to co-ordinate activities across government. We look forward to working with the team in the future.”