The UK is to welcome self-driving buses and taxis into its transportation ecosystem, with London and Edinburgh set to host the autonomous vehicles by 2021


5G technology could help to power self-driving cars

Autonomous travel remains a pipe dream for most but the UK is aiming to change that with self-driving buses and taxis set to arrive in London and Edinburgh by 2021.

A 14-mile stretch across the Forth Bridge in the Scottish capital will feature the self-navigating buses, while London’s streets will play host to the autonomous taxis.

The £25m scheme is backed by the UK’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Intelligent Mobility Fund.

A host of businesses and organisations will contribute to the pilots, including Jaguar Land Rover, Addison Lee, Fusion Processing, Oxbotica, University of Nottingham and the University of West of England (UWE) in Bristol.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Self-driving cars will revolutionise the way we move goods and people around the UK.

“These Industrial Strategy projects and investments are exciting examples of our long-term plan in action – ensuring we build on our strengths to reap the rewards as we accelerate towards our ambition to have autonomous vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

“Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.

The UK is building on its automotive heritage and strengths to develop the new vehicles and technologies and from 2021 the public will get to experience the future for themselves.”

self-driving buses and taxis
Business Secretary Greg Clark

Making the self-driving buses and taxis possible

The £250m Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Intelligent Mobility Fund is providing £25m for the upcoming pilots, after the government staged a competitive selection process.

The projects will also include social behavioural research to highlight the ways in which autonomous technology can integrate into everyday life.

Future of mobility minister Jesse Norman said: “Automated driving technology is advancing rapidly, and the UK market for connected and autonomous vehicles is forecast to be worth up to £52bn by 2035.

“This pioneering technology will bring significant benefits to people right across the country, improving mobility and safety, and driving growth across the UK.”

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles was established in 2015 to ensure the UK is a world-leader in the development and testing of self-driving technologies.