Self-driving vehicles could generate billions of pounds for the British economy by 2035, according to the government.
The full economic value of the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) market was outlined by Transport Minister Rachel Maclean at the CES technology conference last week.
Her appearance at CES coincided with the publication of a report conducted by researchers into the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles.
The report, led by the Connected Places Catapult, forecasts that by 2035 up to 40% of car sales could have self-driving capabilities and command a total market value of £41.7 billion.
In turn, the report suggests this could create nearly 40,000 skilled jobs in the CAV technology sector.
Speaking at CES, 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.”
In recent years, the UK Government has invested £200 million into CAV research and development (R&D), helping British startups develop their tech for use both in the UK and internationally.
Startups that have received government R&D support, including Five and Oxbotica, have raised tens of millions of dollars in private investment.
Several government-backed CAV trials have also successfully demonstrated world-leading capabilities in recent years, such as the Streetwise project in London in 2019, which saw self-driving vehicles carrying commuters to and from work.
Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, said: “Self-driving vehicles represent a huge economic opportunity for the UK, unlocking much-needed jobs and economic growth.
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“Government is backing business to realise this – driving forward the future of the UK’s automotive and technology sectors and helping us build back better.”
In addition to economic value, the increased uptake of self-driving vehicles could be crucial to the UK’s carbon reduction ambitions moving forward.
Nicola Yates, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “CAV technologies have the potential to revolutionise transport.
“Designed in the right way, a system of connected autonomous vehicles could make our transport network more accessible, safer, more efficient and better for the environment.”