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Government launches driverless car testing cluster

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Efforts to create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London will be taken forward under a new ‘MERIDIAN’ brand announced by the Government.

This brand for the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology in the UK is funded jointly by industry and the Government’s £100M CAV investment programme.

With bases in Coventry and Stratford, MERIDIAN will bring together the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of facilities that covers all testing requirements the technology. The aim is to accelerate the development of CAV technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK.

Analysis has identified that through the hub, the UK is well positioned to focus on four strategically important areas: advanced CAV testing and development; connected environments; data and cyber security; and new mobility services.

“At the heart of our Industrial Strategy is a commitment to delivering world class science, research and innovation,” commented Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry.

“The MERIDIAN co-ordination hub embodies this ambition, creating a globally recognisable brand that will bring the automotive sector, academia and Government together behind a common set of strategic goals.”

The Government’s Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles has also published a new Global Market Value report last week which predicts that by 2035 the UK’s market for CAV technologies could be worth £52Bn.

By that time the UK will have over 27,000 jobs involved in the production of CAV technology, including thousands of new highly skilled jobs in the auto sector, the report adds.

Photo: UK Autodrive