DRIVERLESS cars are coming to Coventry roads after a multi-million pound project has been given the green light.
The £7.1 million UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project, which aims to create the world’s first fully connected roads for autonomous driving, will enable companies to trial driverless technology in real-life conditions on the city’s roads.
Initial off-road trials will take place in late 2016 before taking to public roads in 2017.
The technology will then be deployed on a mixture of different road types, including dual carriageways and city centre roads.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Sajid Javid MP, visited HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton, today (Monday, February 1) to launch the progra
mme, which will create or safeguard up to 350 jobs.
Mr Javid said: “Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner.
“They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
“Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.”
The scheme, led by Jaguar Land Rover and Visteon, includes industry partners HORIBA MIRA, Siemens, Vodafone, WMG, University of Warwick, Huawei, Coventry University and Coventry City Council, supported by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
Chris Reeves, Commercial Manager, Future Transport Technologies and Intelligent Mobility at HORIBA MIRA, said the project would ‘pave the way’ for the future development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
He added: “It will help establish the UK as a global centre of excellence and drive forward the commercialisation of connected vehicles, and deliver a major wealth creation and inward investment opportunity for the UK.”
The UK CITE project includes a £3.41 million grant from Innovate UK, which supports science and technology innovations that will grow the UK’s economy. The remaining project budget is provided by investment from the project’s partners.
Welcoming the project, Coun Kevin Maton, CWLEP board director and Coventry City Council cabinet member for business enterprise and employment, said: “Coventry has a proud tradition and a bright future when it comes to cutting-edge innovation.
“The partners in this project are all at the forefront of their sectors and we are in excellent company.
“As we strive to be a top ten city we are clear that research and development and this kind of connected technology will be critical to our success and to future opportunities for this and the next generation.
“It’s very exciting that autonomous cars will be on trial in our city as early as next year.”