The Chancellor is expected to use his Budget to reform the rules on driverless car testing which the Treasury says will “build an economy fit for the future”.
Phillip Hammond is set to announce a series of measures that will “secure the UK’s position as a world leader in transformational technologies” which the Government believes will pave the way for the Industrial Strategy, which is designed help improve productivity and create high quality jobs across the whole of the country.
The Treasury says the driverless car industry will be worth £28 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and support 27,000 jobs. In an attempt to help businesses grow as fast as possible, the Government will implement what they call world-leading regulatory changes, so that developers can apply to test their vehicles on the road nationwide without a human operator for the first time. This, they say, will remove the last remaining barrier to advanced, on-road testing “putting the UK in the fast lane of global developments for this technology”.
A new scheme will also be launched enabling organisations to explore ways of testing self-driving technology through digital simulation. This off-road testing project will be the most significant of its kind in Europe and will involve what they call cutting-edge computer science.
The Government says that these measures will “help realise the Chancellor’s vision that fully self-driving cars will be on UK roads in as little as three years.”
The Government adds that, by creating a new £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, it will improve access to finance for businesses to deliver charge points across the country. This, it says, will rapidly boost the deployment of vital infrastructure to support this switch to cleaner cars and reduce pollution.
An extra £100 million will be invested in the Plug-In Car Grant, helping people with the cost of buying a battery-electric vehicle which the Government says will support consumers making the move to zero-emission transport, improving the nation’s air quality as fast as possible.
Mr Hammond is also expected to announce £75 million funding for Artificial Intelligence, £100 million to boost clean car purchases and £160 million for next-generation 5G mobile networks across the UK.