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    What comes next for UK Autodrive and its partners?

    Over the past three years, UK Autodrive has set the standard for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) projects in the UK, and is regarded internationally as a leading project in this space. Overseen by Arup, collaboration was at the heart of our success: Collaboration between three global car manufacturers has accelerated technological R&D, underpinned by the world-leading testing and safety support from Horiba MIRA; collaboration between two local councils has helped us find solutions to the local and social challenges that face CAV technology, backed by expertise from three of our great universities; the RDM Group benefitted hugely from the support and input from this consortium not only in developing and refining their autonomous pods but in helping to commercialise them to the extent that they now have a global footprint; and finally, collaboration between all partners has helped Thales, Gowling WLG and Axa to find solutions to some of the most complex cyber-security, legal and financial challenges in this sector. Our success in The Engineer’s 2018 Collaborate to Innovate Award is further evidence of this collaboration.

    Put all this together and the UK Autodrive project successfully demonstrated the world’s first multi-modal CAV demonstration across two cities, opened the door to future CAV projects, and made the UK government’s target of driverless cars on the road by 2021 an ever more likely goal. Although UK Autodrive has now come to an end, it’s legacy will remain, and individual partners will continue to build on the learnings, holding on to that spirit of collaboration, in order to help roll out CAV technology that is safe, environmentally-friendly, inclusive, scalable, commercially-viable and job-creating. Worldwide the Intelligent Mobility sector will be worth 1.4tn by 2030, with CAVs an inevitable and necessary solution to many social and technological challenges, and the UK Autodrive has helped put the UK at the heart of this exciting new sector.

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    What was UK Autodrive?

    A consortium of leading technology and automotive businesses, forward thinking local authorities and academic institutions who worked together on a major three-year UK trial of self-driving vehicle and connected car technologies. The trial culminated in a series of urban demonstrations on selected public roads and footpaths in the host cities of Milton Keynes and Coventry. As well as showcasing the latest technology, UK Autodrive also investigated other important aspects of automated driving – including safety and cyber-security, legal and insurance issues, public acceptance for connected and autonomous vehicles and the potential business models for turning automated driving systems into a widespread reality.

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    How was the programme funded?

    UK Autodrive was the largest of three separate consortia that trialled automated vehicle systems as part of the government’s “Introducing driverless cars to UK roads” competition. The project was jointly funded by government and industry, and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, with the total investment adding up to approximately £19.4 million. For more on the two other consortia that took part in the competition, see the Venturer and GATEway websites.

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    What were the programme’s main aims?

    As part of the “Introducing driverless cars to UK roads” competition, the UK Autodrive programme helped to establish the UK as a global hub for the research, development and integration of automated and connected vehicles into society. We also used the programme to increase public awareness of autonomous vehicle and connected car technologies, and to enable cities to understand how they can best facilitate and benefit from automated transport systems.

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    What were the main 'milestones' for the project and what information was made public?

    The UK Autodrive programme got underway in November 2015 and ran for three years. There were several major milestones throughout the project, including the public road vehicle trials. In the last year of the programme, autonomous cars and pods became a regular sight on the streets and pavements of Coventry and Milton Keynes.

    Key information and findings from the UK Autodrive programme was made readily available to the public, both via the media and directly on the UK Autodrive website. In addition, we held regular stakeholder workshops in the two host cities as well as distributing a free-subscription online newsletter. UK Autodrive representatives also attended and spoke at major conferences and events on connected and autonomous vehicles and related topics.

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