Following a government announcement that driverless cars are to be trialed in several cities across the UK, government-backed Innovate UK has revealed which cities will host on-road testing.
Autonomous cars are set to be tested on roads in Greenwich, south east London, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry. While Greenwich and Bristol will be home to separate projects, Milton Keynes and Coventry will host the same test, Innovate UK has announced, following the publication of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.
Osborne additionally stated that £9 million in funding has been put aside for the projects, in addition to the £10 million confirmed in July. Further cash will be injected by companies involved in the trials.
Our plan is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users are confident about how autonomous cars can operate safely.
Greenwich will be home to the Gateway scheme, which aims to test out automated passenger shuttles, along with the viability of autonomous valet parking, reports the BBC. This will be managed by transport research consultancy TRL and involve car company General Motors and motoring groups AA and RAC.
The Bristol project, meanwhile, will investigate the impact that driverless cars could have on congestion and road safety. Parties involved include insurer Axa, and the study will focus on both the legal implications of self-driving machines and how the public react to this emerging technology.
Milton Keynes and Coventry will be home to the UK Autodrive programme, which plans to test self-driving cars on the road and autonomous pods in pedestrianised areas. Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and engineering consultancy Arup will be involved in this trial and will look into the technology that would need to be built into the road network and peripheral infrastructure to facilitate autonomous vehicle use.
Tim Armitage from Arup told the BBC: “Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads.”
These tests will start on January 1 and continued for 18 to 36 months.