A report predicting the full economic value of self-driving vehicles in the UK has been released by transport minister Rachel Maclean at the CES technology conference.
The report, which was conducted by researchers at the Connected Places Catapult, Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, states that the UK connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) market could be worth £41.7bn by 2035.
It forecasts that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, which in turn could create nearly 40,000 skilled jobs in the CAV technology area.
Maclean said: “The investment in and development of CAVs could truly transform the way people and goods are transported, with innovation like this at the heart of our ambition to build back better.
“We’re on the cusp of a driving revolution. Not only could this tech unlock vast opportunities for the UK economy and jobs market, it could significantly improve the safety and efficiency of how we travel over the coming decades.
Since 2015, the UK government has invested £200m into CAV research and development (R&D), with British start-ups such as Five and Oxbotica successfully raising tens of millions of pounds in private investment.
In 2020, Oxbotica launched Project Endeavour, which will be running highly automated trials in Oxford, London and Birmingham and will develop models with local authorities and communities to help them prepare for the future launch of automated vehicle services.
Several other government-backed CAV trials have also successfully demonstrated autonomous driving capabilities in recent years, such as the Streetwise project in London in 2019, which saw self-driving vehicles carrying commuters to and from work.
Furthermore, in August 2020, the government announced a consultation to enable the use of automated lane keeping systems – an early form of automation in vehicles – on UK roads as early as this year.
The response to this consultation is set to be published in early 2021.