The government has launched a competition to investigate how the UK roads would manage driverless vehicles.
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £200,000 to look at the design, management and use of UK roads for connected and autonomous vehicles.
The competition is launched as we look at how roads will be used in the future and the changes that will need to be incorporated. In particular, changes that can incorporate the development of driverless cars and vehicles moving in convoys.
Changes in use could mean there may be no need for traffic lights, and lane directions could change depending on the time of day.
The competition is being led by the National Infrastructure Commission and Highways England, who will fund projects that look at changes to roads and related infrastructure, which will maximise the benefits of driverless and connected vehicle technologies.
The competition is seeking practical ideas on designing and managing roads in three areas:
- road design and related infrastructure including line markings, signs, posts, gantries, crash barriers and lighting columns
- traffic management such as traffic signals and any other means of controlling traffic flow
- road rules and regulations including such things as speed limits and waiting or loading restrictions
Funding for the competition is under SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) and up to £150,000 is available for feasibility studies in a first phase. The best project could attract £50,000 to develop it further in a second phase.
The competition is open, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 7 March 2018. It is open to any organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for its idea.
Phase I contracts are expected to be worth up to £30,000, with successful projects will attracting 100% funded development contracts.
A briefing event for interested companies will be held on 31 January 2018
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