Self-parking vehicles could be on a street near you by 2021…

  • Specialist UK technology and automotive businesses invited to bid for £30m to help make self-parking driverless cars a reality
  • Two new funding competitions will also create two permanent self-driving test sites in the UK
  • Part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy Mobility Grand Challenge aimed at developing the transport system of the future

Organisations are today invited to bid for a share of up to £30 million of collaborative funding to support the development of self-driving vehicles on UK roads, Business Minister Richard Harrington announced today.

Funded through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Meridian, the Government’s unique hub for testing autonomous technology, the competitions see Government and industry jointly investing in UK businesses to help realise the Government’s ambition to see fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

The next round of the competition (Meridian Mobility 2) could answer drivers’ parking woes since up to £5m will be awarded to projects developing and testing autonomous parking technology. This technology will allow self-driving cars to park in a range of different environments without human intervention. The money will also fund two public-testing sites for self-driving cars in urban settings, (Meridian Mobility 3) helping connected and autonomous vehicles to become a normal feature on UK roads. It is part of the modern Industrial Strategy’s Mobility Grand Challenge to invest in and shape the design, development and manufacture of the transport system of tomorrow.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said:

‘Self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the way we move people and goods across the UK.  They also have the potential to support our ambition for a cleaner, greener future as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.  The UK is already leading the way in developing this technology and today’s funding will bring self-driving vehicles one step closer to becoming a normal feature on UK roads and could, in time, make learning to parallel park a thing of the past.’   

Meridian Chief Executive Dr Daniel Ruiz said:

‘Today’s announcement of up to £30 million through the latest Meridian Mobility collaborative funding competitions further enhances the UK’s position as a world leading environment in which to test and develop cooperative and self-driving technology.

‘We’re looking forward to receiving applications from consortia proposing innovative and effective solutions to unlock some of the key challenges in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

‘The infrastructure being developed with this matched funding will accelerate the introduction and adoption of the technology and solutions which will deliver significant benefits in all of our daily lives.’

Chair of The Automotive Council Technology Group, Graham Hoare said:

‘On behalf of the Automotive Council, I welcome the latest developments at Meridian Mobility, the UK’s CAV Development Capability. Meridian continues the acceleration of the UKs CAV development facilities with the announcement of important partnerships as part of the latest outcomes of the TestBed program, Wave 2&3. These new capabilities will complement our strengthening UK Test capability with the advantage of a ‘one stop shop’ mind-set for the industry.’

Today’s launch builds on the success of an earlier competition round which saw four UK projects awarded a total of £51m to test the speed, safety and potential opportunities for delivering connected and autonomous (CAV) innovation.

The UK’s Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy. Through this we will help businesses to create better, higher-paying jobs – setting a path for Britain to lead in the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.

The Industrial Strategy named four Grand Challenges to put us at the forefront of the industries of the future. The challenges will direct the focus of Government and engage the private sector, academics and civic society to ensure we take advantage of major global trends, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity.

Find out more details about the competitions including the scope, guidelines, dates and how to apply:

Meridian Mobility 2 – Connected vehicles data exchange

Meridian Mobility 3 – Autonomous highway, rural and parking test facilities

The funding competitions Meridian Mobility 2 and Meridian Mobility 3 open today 4th June 2018 and close on 29th August 2018.