NIC launches driverless car infrastructure competition

The National Infrastructure Commission has launched a competition looking for “Britain’s leading lights from across industry” to help ensure the country has roads fit for the future and ready for driverless cars.

Launched with Highways England and Innovate UK, the competition will seek ideas for making the UK road network ready for connected and autonomous vehicles – including using the latest technology.

It will look for ideas as to how existing infrastructure can be adapted, how roads shared by driverless and driven vehicles can work, and how these changes can be introduced alongside charging networks for new electric cars.

It will also be looking for ideas that can work on different types of roads, whether a residential avenue, a high street or a motorway.

Entries will be judged by an expert panel, brought together from across industry, academia, regional government and the public sector.

Plans for a Roads for the Future competition were announced as part of the Chancellor’s Budget statement in November.

Those wishing to enter have two months in which to submit their ideas, which should follow three broad themes:

  1. The design of roads and related infrastructure – how will existing roads need to be adapted to meet the needs of new driverless cars?
  2. Traffic management – how will key features such as traffic lights and other methods of traffic control need to adapt to meet the needs of different vehicle types?; and
  3. Road rules and regulations – how should current restrictions, for example speed limits, and parking and loading rules, be updated for this new environment?

The competition jury will select the five best entries to go through to a second round, with each of these given up to £30,000 to develop their ideas further over a three-month period. The winning entry will then be announced later this year.

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