Greater UK funding required for CAV development

TRL outlines the future of connected and automated vehicles in the UK with a call for more investment and commercial risk taking.

After giving evidence in the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry on Autonomous Vehicles, TRL’s Academy Director, Nick Reed outlines where the UK is with CAVs and what the next steps should be.

“The UK government approach to date has delivered regulatory guidance, a dedicated policy unit (CCAV) and research funding to support developments of automated vehicle technology. This has resulted in significant international impact, the development of interesting collaborations and support for SMEs in this space. However, the UK is lacking an equivalent to Silicon Valley in terms of investment, community and risk-taking approach.

“Connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are developing along two converging paths; fully automated vehicles operating in increasingly sophisticated environments, and road vehicles in which automated systems take responsibility for greater parts of the driving task. The applications for CAVs are exceptionally broad, applying to people, goods or services, representing an enormous market opportunity.

“Users of CAVs stand to benefit in several ways, including improved safety, accessibility, emissions performance and asset use. There will also be substantial commercial benefits, such as the emergence of truck platooning, which is set for UK trials imminently. However, these must be weighed against potential disadvantages, including user confusion, changes in opportunities for employment and threats to equitable transport provision.

“To maximise UK impact of CAVs, it is vital that the key organisations working in this area are provided with an environment in which they can successfully achieve international ambitions from a domestic base.”

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