Government Announces Self-Driving Vehicle Competition

Government Announces Self-Driving Vehicle Competition

The government has announced a £40 million competition to help kickstart the UK’s self-driving vehicle sector.

It’s aimed at the commercial self-driving sector, which includes delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, and it could speed up the adoption of the technology on public roads.

The competition, which is called the ‘Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility’ competition, will provide grants to aid with the rollout of commercial self-driving vehicles from 2025.

It’s part of the government’s net-zero plan as it aims to reduce emissions and move to a more sustainable future for the UK.

Vehicles including delivery vans, passenger buses, commercial vehicles to move shipping containers, and other fleet vehicles are all included in the scheme.

What Is The Future Of Autonomous Vehicles?

Road tests began in the UK for self-driving commercial vehicles in April, with a self-driving bus becoming the first full-sized autonomous commercial vehicle to drive on public roads.

As technology develops and the possibility of autonomous vehicles being in operation on the road starts to become a reality, some changes need to be made…

And it’s started already as the government has set out key changes in The Highway Code to ensure self-driving vehicles can be introduced safely. The decision was taken to make changes following a public consultation that highlighted it as a key change to the way vehicles operate on the road.

The changes outline precisely when a driver should take control in an autonomous vehicle and what their responsibilities are while they’re in a self-driving car.

It’s being seen as an opportunity to level up transport with an increase in automated technology which can communicate without the need for human intervention.

The legal parameters haven’t yet been set for operating self-driving vehicles – but the government has confirmed some things, including that the use of mobile phones will still be illegal in self-driving mode.

Given that autonomous commercial vehicles could be on the road in the summer, the government is under pressure to develop a legal framework for self-driving vehicles that covers a wide range of issues.

A full programme of testing will be developed to ensure that self-driving vehicles are only approved after meeting strict standards, and a programme of information will be available to drivers to help them use vehicles safely.

Currently, around 88% of all road collisions are caused by human error and talk of introducing platooning and autonomous vehicles to the fleet sector has been rife for some time.

Experts believe the self-driving vehicle sector could be worth as much as £42 billion to the UK economy by 2035, and this summer could see that journey begin.

With the strain being felt by anyone driving petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles as fuel prices continue to rise, the pressure on the government to incentivise alternative methods of transport has been ramped up – and the future could be in autonomous vehicles.

What do you think of self-driving vehicles? Would you introduce them to your fleet? Let us know at info@drivingmonitor.com