Early work on self-driving vehicles to bring ‘considerable economic benefits’ to UK

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Early development and adoption of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies is likely to bring considerable economic benefits to the UK and position it as a market leader.

The 2020 Market Focus report forecasts that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7bn

That’s the finding of a new report that says the UK is on the cusp of a transport revolution, as self-driving vehicles are set to be worth nearly £42bn (47bn) by 2035 and could create nearly 40,000 skilled jobs in the CAV technology area.

Conducted by researchers at the Connected Places Catapult, Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, the 2020 Market Focus report forecasts that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7bn (46.9bn). This represents a 42% increase in the UK market size compared to the estimate in the 2017 edition of the Market Forecast.

And it says the UK would be well-placed to export these new transport solutions to the rest of the world, and exploit the considerable market for intelligent mobility; although the forecast for the global market is lower than previously estimated, due to lower CAV penetration assumed in certain regions, such as Asia, as well as due to different cost estimates around the cost of CAV technologies and base vehicle.

The latest report also includes revised assumptions on uptake of CAV technologies across different vehicle types. The 2017 edition of the Market Forecast assumed that CAV uptake would take place evenly across all four vehicle types (cars, vans, HGVs, and buses).

But in the update of the Market Forecast, the uptake of CAVs within the van, heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and bus markets is assumed to occur at a different rate compared to the car market, with these three vehicle categories lagging behind cars; based on the premise that integration of CAV technologies in heavier powertrains will require more technical barriers to be overcome.

The report was revealed at this week’s CES technology conference by Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, who commented: “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.”

To access the Market Summary for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.