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Truck tyres in new UK autonomous vehicle research projects

A tyre pressure monitoring system is at the heart of a £1.2 million autonomous commercial vehicle research project awarded government funding to the tune of £900,000 this month.

The 24-month project, led by independent tyre-management company Tructyre Fleet Management of Hampshire, is among eight to have won backing totalling £20 million from government’s Business, Innovation & Skills department (BIS) to research and develop “driverless” cars and commercial vehicles.

The Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles project also involves the University of Portsmouth, Satellite Applications Catapult and RL Automotive. The project’s central aim is to develop “an innovative solution to monitor key information from the vehicle and predict safety risks based on analytics.”

These eight projects are the first to be funded from the government’s Intelligent Mobility Fund. All eight are backed by businesses as well as the government. Organisations involved include engineering firms, information technology specialists, universities and local authorities.

The successful bidders for the £20 million funding were announced by Business Secretary Sajid Javid on a visit this month to the Horiba MIRA proving ground and technology centre near Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

“Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner,” said Javid.

“They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, welcomed the announcement. “Britain is uniquely placed to become a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicle development, technology that has the potential to generate around £51 billion for the UK economy, save 2,500 lives and generate 320,000 jobs,” he said.

“This first allocation of the government’s funding pledge, which will be matched by industry, is an important first step on the road to realising that opportunity.”