Skip to main content

Blog Innovate UK

Innovate UK
Innovate UK

Autonomous vehicles: the most disruptive technology ever for the global automotive industry?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Support
Autonomous Vehicles, Future Truck Chassis Concept
Future Truck Chassis Concept

Could autonomous vehicles, either fully or partially, be the most significant disruptive technology in the automotive sector’s 100-plus years’ history?

Will we really be telling our grandchildren that, yes, they really did let humans drive cars once upon a time?

If you believe in just a tiny amount of the optimistic views about these technologies and the impact they will have on how we get from A to B then it is easy to understand the hype and excitement that surrounds them.

It is always risky trying to predict the future, but the fact is that we will see increasingly intelligent and autonomous vehicles on our roads in the coming years, and the potential economic and social benefits are enormous and far reaching.

Making the UK the best place in the world to develop self driving car technologies

JLR Driving Towards Autonomy in Amsterdam
JLR Driving Towards Autonomy in Amsterdam

Thankfully, the UK has moved quickly to position itself as one of the best, if not, the best place in the world to do R&D in this field.

The Government has created the Centre for Connect and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) who, supported by Innovate UK, is:

  • rolling out a programme of £100 million Government funding for R&D
  • developing a comprehensive approach to policy making
  • ensuring the right legislation is in place

Learn more about what has already been done with connected and autonomous vehicles.

The UK is one of the best countries for car makers and others to develop and test these technologies because of our:

  • permissive regulations
  • thriving automotive sector
  • excellent research base and innovation infrastructure

A truly global opportunity

We’ve all heard and read a lot about Google, Tesla and Apple’s intentions in this field. Ford, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and most of the other main OEMs are already in hot pursuit. For example;

Volvo will be using London as its test bed in 2017 for semi-autonomous vehicles, with more sophisticated vehicles to follow in 2018.

Ford have announced their intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

JLR are looking at both on road and off road autonomous technologies.

And have you seen that self driving Mercedes Benz truck?

It is hard not to be excited about the potential growth in this sector and for disruption to the supply chain to present some incredible opportunities for SMEs with the right technology. The potential economic prize related to the supply chain is massive and we need to continue to position ourselves in the UK to seize it.

This is an area where the UK has a strong pedigree in satellite technologies, AI, sensors and imaging to name just a few. We are starting with a strong hand to play.

Innovate UK’s collaborative R&D competitions provide a great opportunity for these new technologies and businesses to work with Tier 1s and OEMS to share the risk, in a way that just would not be possible otherwise.

CAV2 - £35m available for collaborative R&D

CCAV logo

The Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK is to invest up to £35 million in industry-led research and development projects on connected and autonomous vehicles.

This is the next stream of funding from the Government’s £100m programme of support.

More details are available from the links below but in a nutshell:

Projects need to come up with technical solutions for connected and autonomous vehicle features that provide real-world benefits to users, including how these vehicles will work as part of a wider transport system. Project proposals also need to show clear commercial potential for the technology.

This competition is in 4 streams, targeted at different types of project.

Stream 1 will fund a large-scale challenge to develop and demonstrate a vehicle operating at SAE level 4 automation. Streams 2, 3 and 4 will fund feasibility studies and industrial research and development projects on connected and autonomous vehicles.

Get involved

The CCAV and Innovate UK ‘CAV2’ competition is now open for applications for funding until 9th November (with final registrations one week prior to that, 2nd November, both noon)

Find more information about the connected and autonomous vehicles 2 competition.

Come and meet me during LCV2016 on the Innovate UK stand or hear me speak on Day 2 at 9.30 in the Main Plenary Hall, when I’ll be giving a briefing on this competition.

You can follow Innovate UK on:

Sharing and comments

Share this page