Hi-tech devices such as in-car telematics systems, navigational aids and auto-pilots which maintain safe distances between cars on the motorway are the sort of gadgets which are expected to be fitted as standard to the family car of the future.
Under the Foresight Vehicle LINK initiative, companies wanting to develop such systems will be eligible for grants, but will have to match the Government money pound for pound to qualify. A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, which is administering the initiative, said: 'The focus of the Foresight Vehicle LINK programme will be on developing technologies for use in mass-market vehicles.
'Researchers will be working towards the development of vehicles that are environmentally friendly, make the best use of limited fuel resources, are lightweight and use less energy. They can communicate with other vehicles and the transport infrastructure, are safer and able to avoid collisions and can be manufactured competitively.'