On 9 October, as the fallout from the cancellation of HS2 continued, The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) quietly announced the recipients of £1.3m in joint government and industry funding “to study the feasibility of self-driving mass transit solutions across the UK”.
The following six projects – backed via CCAV’s Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) programme – will explore how self-driving technology can be cheaper, emit less carbon, and increase transport safety and security…
UK self-driving projects
Autonomous Healthlink, in Northumberland, will study the feasibility of a zero emission self-driving system on a segregated route between Seaton Delaval Station and the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington. The lead partner is Milestone Transport Planning Ltd, with Dromos Mobility Ltd, Pegasus Planning Group Ltd and Newcastle University. Grant: £155,911.
Blythe Rural Automated Vehicle Operations, in the West Midlands, will study the feasibility of a shuttle service within the Midlands Future Mobility initiative, connecting Blythe Valley Business Park to the UK Central Hub (Arden Cross HS2 interchange, Birmingham International Airport and Railway station). The lead partner is Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, with Aurrigo, Syselek (UK) Ltd, Liftango Ltd, ZF Services UK Ltd, West Midlands Combined Authority, National Highways and WMG. Grant: £197,664.
Commercialising Connected and Automated Vehicle Services in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, will study the commercial potential of a self-driving vehicle linking Inverness College University of the Highlands and Islands Campus to key locations in Inverness and connect ferry passengers to public transport at Uig Pier on the Isle of Skye. The lead partner is University of Glasgow, with Aurrigo, The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership, Darwin Innovation Group Ltd and Highland Country Buses Ltd. Grant: £160,443.
Dromos Connected and Automated System, in Bolton, will study the feasibility of an on-demand, 24/7 self-driving system running on a decommissioned railway corridor connecting the Bolton Transport Interchange to the Royal Bolton Hospital. It will consider the potential to expand and integrate the service through infrastructure and mobility projects. The lead partner is Dromos Mobility Ltd, with Transport for Greater Manchester Ltd and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. Grant: £199,760.
HertsLynx Connected and Automated Mobility On-Demand, in Hertfordshire, will study a self-driving service using on-demand responsive transport technology serving passengers in the Maylands Business Park region. In particular, the routes will connect Maylands to Harpenden Station and St Albans. The lead partner is Sustainicity Ltd, with Siemens Mobility, University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council. Grant: £115,748.
Integrated Mixed Traffic Mobility for Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit, also in Hertfordshire, extends an existing study examining the feasibility of “Dedicated Driverless Spaces” for articulated buses running on segregated routes and public roads. Notably, the route will link Watford and St Albans town centres. The lead partner is City Science Corporation Ltd, with StreetDrone, Hertfordshire County Council and England’s Economic Heartland. Grant: £134,984.
With the Prime Minister helpfully clarifying that a list of projects potentially in line for some of the HS2 cash was purely “illustrative”, perhaps some of these exciting self-driving projects will actually happen… and deliver incredible value for money.