UK To Work With Michigan On Driverless Cars

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The US state, home to the Big Three US automakers, is to work with British organisations on ideas and policies

The British government is to collaborate with the US state of Michigan – home to the country’s top three automakers – on the development of autonomous vehicles and smart roads.

A memorandum of understanding signed by Michigan governor Rick Snyder and UK business minister Richard Harrington is to see agencies and businesses in Detroit work with organisations in the UK such as the government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Transport Systems Catapult on technologies and new rules to govern them.

British organisations will be able to share experiences with those in Michigan and make use of MCity and the American Center of Mobility, two driverless car test grounds, Snyder said.

“We need to embrace a broader network,” he told the Financial Times, adding Britain was “a place of core competency in this field”.

Research acceleration

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are based in Detroit, and Snyder said 76 percent of all US automobile research and development takes place in Michigan.

In reported comments, he said the current time is a “transformational” one for the auto industry.

The UK has made autonomous vehicles a core part of its Industrial Strategy, along with technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, and transport secretary Chris Grayling said at the end of last year that self-driving cars would be on the road by 2021.

The government recently confirmed a three-year investigation into driving laws for autonomous cars. Meanwhile, the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which covers areas including insurance for self-driving cars and electric vehicle charge point measures, is currently making its way through Parliament.

British research in the area is being spearheaded by organisations including the University of Warwick and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as government bodies such as the CCAV.

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