A consortium of companies involved in the development of self-driving vehicle technology have been awarded £12.8m in funding to help them put driverless vehicles on UK streets.
The sum will part-fund a project expected to cost £32m for the StreetWise consortium. However, the project will only start putting driverless vehicles on the road from 2019.
StreetWise is a collective of parties with an interest in developing autonomous vehicle technology. These groups include technology start-up FiveAI, the University of Oxford, TRL Limited, and Transport for London, together with insurer Direct Line Group.
They won the cash in the UK government's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles or CAV2 competition.
"We're delighted to have been awarded the CAV2 grant. It's great to be a beneficiary of the strong support that the Government is offering to the emerging autonomous vehicle industry here in the UK," said FiveAI CEO Stan Boland, who has been behind a series of UK technology start-ups.
The consortium is expecting to have a road-certified fleet of cars ready by 2019. The time in between will be spent making them work, and ensuring that they are street-safe.
"The UK has built up excellent academic expertise in the field of artificial intelligence, an essential component to autonomous vehicle technology," added Boland.
He continued: "Keeping that talent in the UK and focusing enough of it on the automotive space is a serious challenge, since much of it is being hired to work for US companies either on different projects in the UK or on automotive projects in the US or Europe.
"Through this new funding and support, the government is doing its part and it's now up to UK businesses like FiveAI to step-up to define this emerging market and ensure that the UK becomes a world-leader in this technology and is well positioned to reap the economic benefits."
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