The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is a joint Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Transport (DfT) unit. Established in 2015, CCAV is an expert policy unit that is working with industry and academia to make every-day journeys safer, greener, more efficient, and more inclusive. To do this, CCAV is shaping the safe and secure introduction of self-driving vehicles and services on UK roads and leading the government’s wider Future of Transport programme.

In 2022 CCAV launched two streams of funding to invest up to £41.5 million in innovation projects. The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and partners were successful in their bids into both streams: Mass Transit and Deployment.

Read the news release that went out on 1 February 2023 to announce both projects and find out more about Mass Transit on the Cambridge Autonomous Rapid Transport project page. Both project pages will be updated as the work progresses.

Project Connector

Project connector

Partners: Greater Cambridge Partnership, Conigital, Gamma, IPG Automotive, dRISK, Stagecoach

Funding: Total project costs are £17,563,648 with a grant of £8,772,218 from CCAV

Project Connector will undertake an at-scale trial of on-demand self-driving vehicles with up to 13 electric vehicles providing passenger services that integrate with existing transport services within Cambridge.

Services will operate on two sites where there are identified opportunities: Cambridge University’s West Cambridge Campus and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The 12-month trial will be undertaken in a phased manner, initially with engineers providing on-board supervision, migrating to trained operators and culminating in a final phase with only remote operators (i.e. no on-board supervision, subject to legislation). A safety case will be prepared by an independent organisation to ensure an objective assessment is undertaken.

Self-driving vehicles will leverage a 5G connected Remote Monitoring and Tele-Operation service to enable a cost-effective deployment that ensures complicated edge cases can be accommodated through temporary override of vehicle automation.

Key to the project is engagement with Stagecoach: providing a self-driving service run by an existing operator and including its staff and management, ticketing, and payment mechanisms. A key objective of the project is to assess the commercial viability and challenges in operating self-driving passenger services as a transport mode that integrates with the wider transport eco-system. The inclusion of an existing transport operator as a project partner with associated knowledge transfer will offer critical insights between all the project partners and provide an opportunity to continue service operations beyond the project on a commercial basis. Key external stakeholders will be engaged to ensure relevant insights are shared to help define future strategy and regulation and help accelerate similar deployments elsewhere.