Engineering firms Aecom and Amey have been awarded millions of pounds of government funding to develop driverless vehicle technology.
An Aecom-led consortium secured more than £4m and Amey £250,000 from Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles to develop driverless car technology.
The Capri consortium, made up of Aecom and 20 partnering organisations, has received £4.2m to deliver a pilot scheme that could pave the way for autonomous vehicles to move people around airports, hospitals and tourist centres.
It will include the development of next-generation pods, as well as the systems and technologies, that will allow the vehicles to navigate safely in pedestrian and road environments.
Amey, together with technology firm Race, will be handed money to build prototype autonomous vehicles designed to carry out manual tasks in the urban realm such as grass cutting and street cleaning.
The vehicle will simultaneously carry out the tasks while using inbuilt sensors to assess the conditions of street furniture, bridges and the road surface.
The Amey / Race project will last 15 months and, if successful, could see fleets of autonomous vehicles carrying out urban maintenance activities across the UK.
The funding is part of a £109.7m pot of money awarded yesterday by business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes to develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “Low-carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a government we are determined through the industrial strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution.
“Investment in this technology is an integral part of this government’s efforts to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.
“The projects being awarded funding today will help extend our excellence in these cutting-edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.”