United Kingdom

Testing Infrastructure

Virtual and physical testing across a range of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) capabilities is taking place in a wide range of public and controlled testing environments. The UK Government is investing £100 million (2017-2021), to be matched by industry to £200 million, to upgrade and coordinate the UK’s capabilities into a world-leading, comprehensive national CAV testing ecosystem. A new “CAV Hub” called Meridian was announced in September 2017 to coordinate and promote this ecosystem.

The UK now has more than 50 CAV R&D projects, accounting for around £100 million of government investment, allocated to over 150 companies, universities, and research organisations.

Details of these projects can be found here.

Some examples of recent, on-going, and upcoming physical testing include:

Public (real-world testing), including but not limited to:

1) UK Autodrive driverless car trial (2014-present), Milton Keynes and Coventry

2) GATEway driverless car trial (2014-present), Greenwich (London)

3) Venturer driverless car trial (2014-present), Bristol

4) Various connected and autonomous vehicle technologies also have been and are being tested in Newcastle, Birmingham, Oxford, Culham (Oxford), Cranfield, and Stratford (London), among others, and will be tested in Manchester and Croydon among others.

Controlled (proving ground testing), including but not limited to:

1) Horiba Mira (Nuneaton)

2) Millbrook

3) Silverstone

4) Jaguar Land Rover (Gaydon)

5) Culham (Oxford)

Virtual testing, including but not limited to:

1) Leeds University ITS

2) Liverpool University

3) Bristol Robotics Laboratory

4) Warwick Manufacturing Group

5) TRL

6) Transport Systems Catapult (Milton Keynes)

Procedure Description

In the UK, organisations wishing to test connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) can test on any UK road without requiring a permit, licence or other documentation, as long as they obey all relevant road traffic laws, including having:

  • A driver or operator (a driver not in the vehicle) who is ready, able, and willing to resume control;
  • A roadworthy vehicle;
  • Appropriate insurance.

It is the responsibility of testing organisations to satisfy themselves that all tests planned to be undertaken comply with all relevant existing laws.

It is recommended that such organisations refer to the UK Code of Practice for testing, available here.

Organisation(s) in Charge

As set out in the UK Code of Practice, it is strongly recommended that those wishing to conduct testing of highly and fully automated vehicles should engage with:

  • The highway authority (Highways England in the case of the English motorway network);
  • The local emergency services. This should include, where possible, establishing a single point of contact with local police and fire services to facilitate co-operation in the event of an investigation.

Contact Information

Testers may also wish to contact the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) at:

Website: www.gov.uk/ccav

Link to Procedure Website

As the UK does not operate a permission based system, there is no procedure website.

It is recommended that testing organisations refer to the UK Code of Practice, which is available here.

For further information on testing connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK, and for the latest announcements, publications and updates, please visit www.gov.uk/ccav.

Link to Documents

As the UK does not operate a permission based system, there are no documents to complete.

It is recommended testing organisations refer to the UK Code of Practice, which is available here.

Further Comments

For any further information or questions, the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) can be contacted at:

Email: enquiries@ccav.gov.uk

Website: www.gov.uk/ccav

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