The UK's burgeoning tech scene was given significant backing by two Government innovation funds launched for self-driving vehicles pilot schemes, as well as loans for smart city tech companies

Self driving


Companies working on self-driving vehicles and smart city tech have been given a boost as two separate public innovation funds worth £33m were launched in Britain.

The Government set up a £25m grant programme to invest in up to four pilot schemes for autonomous vehicles yesterday (25 June) on the same day £8m worth of loans were handed to 13 businesses working on smart city projects.

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is offering the innovation fund to schemes that include at least a six-month trial in a public or semi-controlled setting.

CCAV was set up by both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport to put the UK at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development.

It will invest £150m across several industries over the next five years into cutting-edge technologies, with trials already under way in Bristol, Coventry, Greenwich and Milton Keynes.


Innovation fund to back urban and green tech

Meanwhile, Government tech agency Innovate UK has announced loans to 13 businesses developing innovative solutions for the UK’s urban infrastructure, energy, and transport challenges.

Executive chairman Dr Ian Campbell said: “Innovative businesses require innovative finance, so we’re excited about the opportunities innovation loans are now unlocking for UK businesses to lead the revolution in infrastructure, urban living, energy and connected transport.

“We’ve seen high levels of demand for this new, affordable, flexible and low interest finance option for innovation and we’re confident it will help potential UK businesses to scale up, create high-value jobs and ultimately accelerate economic growth and improve the quality of life across all regions.”

Companies that will receive the Innovate UK loans include urban tech analysts Citi Logik, emission control technology developer G-Volution, and connected car tech developer Lightfoot.

David Petrie, head of corporate finance at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), said: “ICAEW warmly welcomes the pilot programme for innovation loans.

“Many of our 150,000 members are working in, advising and investing in high-growth companies.

“The new programme is another step by Innovate UK to increase the funding options for R&D-based ventures.

“Innovation loans should help the commercialisation of important new technologies because they include elements that are not typically available from high-street banks.

“They should work very well for particular kinds of innovative, early-stage businesses that need more investment.”

The innovation fund is open for applications until 19 September at 12 noon. For more information, click here.