£18.5m (US$23m) is being made available to UK companies in government funding to strengthen the capabilities of the country’s connected and automated mobility supply chain. The grants, as part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility: Supply Chain competition, will help 43 British companies across 13 projects seize early opportunities to develop self-driving technologies, products and service ready for the connected and automated mobility market.
In August 2022, the government announced its approach to supporting the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles to deliver societal and economic benefits. It is the government’s vision that the UK will start seeing the deployments of commercially operating self-driving vehicles, improving the ways in which people and goods are moved across the nation. To turn this vision into reality, CCAV launched the Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) program to target early commercial self-driving vehicle opportunities and support the UK supply chain to grow and fill technology gaps necessary for their deployment.
On February 1, 2023, the government announced the winners of its deployments competition, where seven successful projects from around the UK form the most advanced set of commercial, self-driving passenger and freight operations anywhere in the world. Projects are now underway in Belfast, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Strategic Road Network, Coventry and Cambridge.
With a total funding of £28.5m (US$35.6m) in joint government and industry support, 13 new supply chain projects will complement the deployment projects and will play a pivotal role in advancing the self-driving revolution by reinforcing the UK’s position at the forefront of connected and automated mobility technologies.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said, “From farm tractors fuelled by hydrogen to rapid-charge first responder motorcycles, these projects receiving funding today show we are not short of innovators in this country. By supporting growth in the industries of the future, including through better regulation, we are delivering on our plan to get the economy growing and make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”
These projects will be delivered in partnership with CCAV’s delivery partners, Zenzic and Innovate UK to bring together government and industry to support the development of sovereign capabilities within the UK CAM supply chain. The selected projects will address critical technology gaps, enhance safety and security, improve performance and reliability, and create scalable opportunities both domestically and globally.
Combined, the deployments and the supply chain projects will help increase safety and efficiency of operations – a great result for our communities and our economy as we gradually roll these services and solutions out nationally and export them globally.
Phillip Ironside, head of innovation & programmes at Zenzic, added: “Zenzic is proud to support and facilitate these supply chain projects that are critical to delivering the UK government’s vision for connected and automated mobility. Our vision foresees the early commercial deployment of self-driving vehicles by 2025 to improve the movement of people and goods. This is only possible with a vibrant and sustainable UK-based CAM supply chain, which can secure the UK’s position as a world-leading exporter of CAM services. Unlocking the CAM potential requires a coordinated supply chain, and the participation of the entire CAM ecosystem. By bringing together a wide range of market participants, from large OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to smaller technology developers and micro-businesses, these innovative projects are driving progress. We are excited about the potential impact these projects will have on the industry and the opportunities they will unlock for the UK in shaping the future of transportation.”
The joint government and industry funding winners are:
The project aims to deliver a universal and affordable drive-by-wire system that replaces traditional mechanical linkages with electronic ones. This system enables automation of the throttle, steering, braking, gears, and ancillary systems of a vehicle.
Partners: AIM TECHNOLOGIES LTD (Lead), TRL LIMITED
Grant funding: £400,000 (US$499,000)
This project focuses on creating an autonomous dolly for airside cargo movements. Building on previous experience with smaller baggage dollies, the project will develop a unique autonomous airside 7.5t cargo dolly. Additionally, a simulation tool will be developed to quantify the benefits of CAM for air cargo operations, providing operators with insights into optimal CAM vehicle types or required infrastructure modifications.
Partners: Aurrigo (Lead), UPS.
Grant funding: £480,000 (US$598,000)
The verification and validation of ADS presents unique challenges. Certus provides a toolset that helps to efficiently identify, define and execute the test requirements for an ADS. It addresses three key questions: what to test, how to test, and when to stop testing. The project partners will collaborate to develop and demonstrate effective testing methodologies.
Partners: HORIBA MIRA LIMITED (Lead), COVENTRY UNIVERSITY, CONNECTED PLACES CATAPULT, POLESTAR AUTOMOTIVE UK LIMITED, IPG AUTOMOTIVE UK LIMITED.
Grant funding: £1.5m (US$1.9m)
DeepSafe aims to support the verification and validation (V&V) of automated driving systems (ADS) through the development and deployment of industry-critical data and a next-generation simulation toolchain. By combining high-acuity data recorded with a new high-speed test methodology operating in real-world environments, and high-volume simulation mediated by world-leading raytraced simulation, the project will address the “reality gap” on the most critical scenarios to train ADS against high-impact collisions, emergencies, and the whole landscape of edge cases. Adding a novel AI-based software for backtracking failure modes to their source, the project hopes to finally unblock the way to safe and economical AV deployments.
Partners: DRISK.AI LTD (Lead), IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON, CLAYTEX SERVICES LIMITED, DG CITIES LIMITED, RFPRO LIMITED.
Grant funding: £2m (US$2.49m)
DriveSafeAI will develop a safety assurance framework for the safe deployment of AI in self-driving technology across all driving domains. Bringing together Wayve’s next-generation end-to-end AI approach to self-driving, with WMG’s expertise on the safety of automated systems, DriveSafeAI will deliver a set of safety methods, tools and data sets that will support the whole self-driving industry.
Partners: WAYVE TECHNOLOGIES LTD (Lead), UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
Grant funding: £1.9M (US$2.37m)
Driven by Sound:
Driven by Sound is a collaborative initiative to create an affordable, robust navigation system for automated vehicles, with a particular emphasis on adverse weather handling. This system features a high-performance computer supporting all levels of automated and autonomous driving. It incorporates cutting-edge 3-D ultrasound sensors for safety and redundancy, ruggedization for durability, and robust cybersecurity measures.
Partners: CALYO LIMITED (Lead), BARO VEHICLES LTD.
Grant funding: £910,000 (US$1.14m)
Building upon previous Nissan project experience, evolvAD aims to develop an AV capable of safely driving in residential, urban and rural environments. Project partners will focus on HD map generation and validation, alignment with multiple complex operational design domains (ODDs) and improving interactions in complex urban environments with vulnerable road users.
Partners: NISSAN MOTOR MANUFACTURING (UK) LIMITED (Lead), TRL LIMITED, HUMANISING AUTONOMY LTD, CONNECTED PLACES CATAPULT, SBD AUTOMOTIVE LTD.
Grant funding: £2.3 (US$2.9m)
High-Performance Imaging Radar (HPIR):
This project aims to develop a high-performance imaging radar product specifically designed for AVs. By addressing a gap in the CAM supply chain UK, it will enable more robust, cost-effective systems that can operate in a wider range of weather conditions while reducing reliance on lidar.
Partners: APTCORE LIMITED (Lead), GARFIELD MICROELECTRONICS LIMITED, PLEXTEK SERVICES LIMITED, CAMBRIDGE SENSORIIS LTD.
Grant funding: £1.8m (US$2.24m)
Photonic Inertial Sensors for Automotive (PISA):
This project aims to develop advanced position and navigation sensors that work reliably in various environments. By leveraging micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and low-cost laser/detectors, the project will improve the performance, resilience and safety of autonomous vehicles (AVs) by reducing reliance on vulnerable external signals.
Partners: ZERO POINT MOTION LTD (Lead), WAE TECHNOLOGIES LTD, UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND, ROYAL INSTITUTE OF NAVIGATION.
Grant funding: £1.4m (US$1.75m)
Sim4CAMSens aims to enable accurate representation of ADS sensors in simulation. It will develop a sensor evaluation framework that spans modeling, simulation and physical testing. This project will involve the creation of new sensor models, improved noise models, new material models, and new test methods to enable ADS and sensor developers to accelerate their development.
Partners: CLAYTEX SERVICES LIMITED (Lead), UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, NATIONAL PHYSICAL LABORATORY, SYSELEK (UK) LTD, COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTOR APPLICATIONS CATAPULT LIMITED, RFPRO LIMITED, OXFORD RF SOLUTIONS LTD, TECHWORKSHUB LTD.
Grant funding: £2m (US$2.49m)
StreetCAV will create a ‘plug-and-play’ roadside connectivity solution enabling self-driving shuttles, robotic and drone-based services to operate safely and securely, maintaining connections wherever they go. With world-class experts and UK-based partners, it will deploy StreetCAV and a new self-driving shuttle service into Milton Keynes, as a blueprint for UK-wide deployment.
Partners: SMART CITY CONSULTANCY LIMITED (Lead), DELL CORPORATION LIMITED, MILTON KEYNES BOROUGH COUNCIL, OHMIO UK LTD.
Grant funding: £1.8m (US$2.24m)
Systems for Autonomy in Fail Operational Environments (SAFE):
The SAFE project will develop a fully redundant, fail-operational drive-by-wire technology platform to enable safe driver-out, on-road autonomous vehicle capability. By integrating purpose-built sub-systems, the project will create an automated vehicle capable of achieving SAE Level 4 autonomy. These safety-critical vehicle systems ensure lateral and longitudinal control, even in the event of a single-point fault or failure.
Partners: STREETDRONE (Lead), ALCON COMPONENTS LIMITED, UNIVERSITY OF SURREY, CHASSIS AUTONOMY LIMITED.
Grant funding: £1.2m (US$1.5m)
Torque Overlay Automated Steering Technology (TOAST):
The TOAST project focuses on the development of a modular dual redundant steer-by-wire system for heavily automated and electric vehicles. This project fills a gap in the UK supply chain, supporting ADS development in the UK and globally, as there is currently no UK-based Tier 1 supplier showing interest in supporting low- to medium-volume vehicle manufacturers.
Partners: TITAN MOTORSPORT & AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING LTD (Lead), ALEXANDER DENNIS LIMITED, TRL LIMITED.
Grant funding: £760,000 (US$947,764)