Competition looks to maximise benefits of autonomous vehicles

14.03 | 16 January 2018 | | 2 comments

A share of up to £200k is available for ideas to improve the road system in order to maximise the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

The Government is looking to award £30k to each of the highest-ranking applications and is expecting to fund up to five projects.

Once the successful applicants have completed their projects, the National Infrastructure Commission will award a further £50k to the applicant judged to have developed the best project.

The competition – which is open to organisations of any size, age or type – covers three broad themes:

  • Road design, including road-related infrastructure
  • Traffic management
  • Road rules and regulations

The UK Government has repeatedly expressed its desire to be a world leader when it comes to CAVs.

Driverless cars could be tested on UK roads for the first time in 2018 – as a result of new regulations set out in the November 2017 budget.

In addition, small convoys of ‘partially driverless lorries’ will undergo trials on British roads by the end of 2018.

The £8.1m ‘platooning’ trial will see up to three heavy goods vehicles travelling in convoy, with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle.

Click here for more information about the competition. The deadline for applications is 7 March 2018 (12pm), with successful projects expected to get underway on 25 May 2018.

Image: Department for Transport, via Flickr.


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    I agree with Bob Craven. Platooning will be tested on the upper stretches of the M6, because there are relatively few junctions in that area. This tacitly acknowledges that the main problem will be other road users safely leaving and entering the motorway. There are many drivers out there who already have major issues with entering a fast-moving flow of traffic without there being vehicles that are effectively three times the length of an artic.

    It is fairly easy to imagine a world with only autonomous vehicles; the hard bit is imagining how we safely manage the transition period to that state of affairs. Personally, I cannot imagine there ever being a wholly autonomous fleet; there will always be perverts like me who enjoy riding motorcycles, and what is the point of an autonomous motorcycle?

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (8) | Disagree (1)

    I am not a supporter of platooning as it would:
    [1] Allow such vehicles to travel closer together than the 20 ft they already travel at at nearly 60 mph.
    [2] It would mean that a distance of some 3 vehicle lengths plus intermediate distance would be used up on the inside lane and that could hinder or cause increased danger to other drivers from making safe access or departing the motorway at a junction off or a services.
    [3] What would happen if the lead vehicle decided to overtake another slower moving vehicle, would it continue in platoon on the middle or outside lane of the motorway or duel carriageway, mile after slow mile and thus drive without consideration or reasonableness to other road users.

    No I am not a supporter of this measure becoming adopted.

    Further what’s the point of having some important safety devices built into vehicles that can be turned off, ignored or overriden? It doesn’t make road safety sense.

    bob craven
    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

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