Press release

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

Latest funding competition will see UK leading Europe in the public testing of self-driving cars and could make self-parking vehicles a reality

UK Autodrive
UK Autodrive November 2017 demo
  • Specialist UK technology and automotive businesses invited to bid for £30m to help make self-parking cars a reality

  • Two new funding competitions will also create two permanent self-driving test sites in the UK, the first of the kind in Europe

  • Part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy aimed at developing the transport system of the future

Companies are today invited to bid for £30 million of 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.

UK Autodrive
Uk Autodrive self-driving pod London

The next round of the competition 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, the first of the kind in Europe, these sites will ensure that 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.

Automotive Minister Richard Harrington experiences CAV technology first-hand

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 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.

UK Autodrive
UK Autodrive November 2017 demo

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.

Chair Automotive Council Technology, Graham Hoare said:

On behalf of the Automotive Council, I welcome the latest developments at Meridian Mobility Technology, 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.

UK Autodrive
UK Autodrive November 2017 demo

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 names 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.

Notes to Editors -

Specific information about the two funding competitions, which will be delivered by Innovate UK:

  • Meridian 2: £5m for one data exchange capability that will provide a commercial marketplace for CAV data from vehicles. The data will be accessible and shareable while maintaining privacy and security. The asset will enable technology developers, fleet operators and road network owners to deliver better social, environmental, and cost-effective transport systems and underpin new business models.

  • Meridian 3: up to £25m to fund up to 6 infrastructure projects to develop CAV testing infrastructure for automated parking and interurban automated driving on rural roads and highways:

  1. Interurban (controlled): up to £4 million to support one controlled test environment project,
  2. Interurban (public): up to £16 million to support up to 2 continuous public test environment projects,
  3. Parking (controlled): up to £2 million to support one controlled parking test facility project
  4. Parking (public): up to £3 million to support up to 2 public parking test environment projects
Published 5 June 2018