The Government has today launched Meridian, an industry-led hub aimed at accelerating the development of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies.
The initiative was announced by climate change and industry minister Claire Perry at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Show – Cenex LCV2017.
Meridian, funded jointly by the Government’s flagship £100 million CAV investment programme and by industry, will create a cluster of excellence in driverless car testing, along the M40 corridor between Coventry and London, to accelerate the development of this technology, grow intellectual capital and attract overseas investment in the UK.
The launch of the Meridian brand follows a call for evidence by the Centre of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in May 2016 into how the UK can integrate and strengthen its CAV testing facilities and to consider the case for a test bed to provide a focus for the industry.
Jim Campbell, launch director of Meridian, said: "In order for CAVs to be fully adopted they need to function seamlessly on all roads.
"Meridian will focus on integrating and connecting these vehicles with complex environments in the UK and around the world.
"For this to happen we need all industries, and government, to work together on the same technologies and the same standards. For this to happen collaboration is key.
“Meridian will give the UK the power to innovate CAV technology faster and more decisively than ever before, creating a test bed of facilities throughout the UK. This UK-wide operation will enable the UK to become globally competitive in CAV technology and open up new opportunities in the supply chain.”
Perry added: “At the heart of our industrial strategy is a commitment to delivering world class science, research and innovation.
"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.
“A report we are publishing today predicts that by 2035 the global market for CAV technologies will be worth £907 billion, and through Government investment and collaboration with industry in this area we will ensure that the UK becomes one of the global ‘go to’ destinations for the development of this technology.”
With bases at the Coventry and Stratford branches of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), Meridian will bring together the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of testing facilities that covers all testing requirements for CAV technology.
The Government has also today published its Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Global Market Value report which predicts the global market for CAV technology could be worth £907bn in 2035. The report sets out a number of interesting findings and future predictions for the industry:
- By establishing a leadership position for the UK in CAV technologies could see the UK market reach £52bn by 2035
- By 2035 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
- 70% of the jobs related to CAV technology production are estimated to be highly-skilled professional and technical roles in software-related industries