Driver­less cars to be tested in the UK

Sunday Sun - - News - By Arj Singh scoop.sun­day­[email protected]­me­

Reporter DRIVER­LESS cars will be given the green light for test­ing on roads na­tion­wide under plans in the Bud­get de­signed to en­sure the ve­hi­cles are be­ing used in Bri­tain in as lit­tle as three years.

Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond will an­nounce changes to reg­u­la­tions to al­low de­vel­op­ers to test self-driv­ing cars on UK roads for the first time. The Trea­sury sees the rules as the last bar­rier to ad­vanced, on-road test­ing, and hopes it will help re­alise the Chan­cel­lor’s vi­sion of au­ton­o­mous cars on Bri­tish roads by 2021.

The plans to sup­port the driver­less car in­dus­try, which of­fi­cials es­ti­mate will be worth £28bn to the econ­omy by 2035 and sup­port 27,000 jobs, come as part of a pack­age of mea­sures de­signed to help the UK be­come a world leader in the tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion.

Mr Ham­mond is ex­pected to an­nounce tens of mil­lions of pounds of in­vest­ment in ar­eas like ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) and 5G mo­bile net­works.

It is hoped the Bud­get will pave A Volvo con­cept car in driver­less mode the way for the Gov­ern­ment’s in­dus­trial strategy, which seeks to boost Bri­tain’s lag­ging pro­duc­tiv­ity and cre­ate more high-skilled jobs. The in­vest­ment in­cludes: £75m for ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence; £400m for electric car charge points;

£100m to boost clean car pur­chases;

£160m for next-gen­er­a­tion 5G mo­bile net­works across the UK;

£100m for an ad­di­tional 8,000 fully-qual­i­fied com­puter science teach­ers sup­ported by a new Na­tional Cen­tre for Com­put­ing;

A re­train­ing part­ner­ship be­tween the TUC, CBI and the Gov­ern­ment;

£76m to boost dig­i­tal and con­struc­tion skills.

The sup­port for 5G will in­clude test­ing on UK roads to help pro­vide the net­work needed for driver­less cars, while £35m will be fo­cused on giving rail pas­sen­gers re­li­able mo­bile sig­nals and “light­ning speed” in­ter­net during jour­neys, with tri­als due to be­gin on the Trans-Pen­nine route, which con­nects Leeds, Manch­ester and Liver­pool. Fund­ing will also go to the Na­tional Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Cen­tre so net­works work safely and se­curely.

For AI, £20m will sup­port com­pa­nies us­ing the tech­nol­ogy to de­velop pi­o­neer­ing ser­vices and £45m will go to­wards in­creas­ing the num­ber of PhD stu­dents in this area to 200 a year, while a fur­ther £9m will fund an ad­vi­sory body to re­move bar­ri­ers to de­vel­op­ment and en­sure safe and eth­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

The £400m for a Charg­ing In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment fund for electric cars will im­prove ac­cess to fi­nance for busi­nesses to build charge points, and an ex­tra £100m will be in­vested in the Plug-in Car Grant to help people with the cost of buy­ing bat­tery-pow­ered ve­hi­cles.

A na­tional re­train­ing scheme will help work­ers across the coun­try learn new skills as more tra­di­tional jobs be­come au­to­mated.

As part of the Gov­ern­ment’s drive to build more homes, £40m will be in­vested in con­struc­tion train­ing pro­grammes for ground­work­ers, brick­lay­ers, roofers and plas­ter­ers.

The North East’s Bud­get wish list: Pages 14&15

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