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Future of Mobility Grand Challenge

We will put the UK at the forefront of the 21st century transport revolution and ensure our automotive sector – one of our greatest success stories – continues to thrive.

One year ago, the UK Government launched its modern Industrial Strategy: a long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the country. And we are embracing the challenges that our world presents to us.

We’re focusing on four key areas where Britain can lead the world in the coming technological revolution. These ‘Grand Challenges’ – in the artificial intelligence and data-driven revolution, the global shift to clean growth, the future of mobility (in the way that people, goods and services move around the world), and the opportunity of our ageing society – are being tackled by the best from the public and private sector. Doing so will put the UK at forefront of the industries of the future.

Tackling our Future of Mobility Grand Challenge will put the UK at the forefront of the 21st Century transport revolution. This will ensure our automotive sector – one of our greatest success stories – continues to thrive and create good jobs across the country.

Setting the context:

The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge aims to make the UK a world leader in the way people, goods and services move now and in the future:

For many years advances in transport services have been incremental and predictable. Fixed infrastructure, a legacy regulatory framework, and lack of access to data created high barriers to entry for innovators.

This is no longer true. Advances in data science, artificial intelligence and sensing technology have increased the clock speed of transport innovation.

Automation, electrification and demand-led transport services promise to improve safety, reduce emissions and improve user experiences. Digital infrastructure is enabling modes and services to join up in ways previously impossible.

The opportunity is huge. The market for connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK is estimated to be worth £28bn in 2035, capturing 3% of the £907bn global market.

The global market for connected and autonomous vehicles alone is estimated to be worth £907bn in 2035.

Transport innovation will also support UK productivity growth by increasing access to markets, skills and employment and creating new opportunities for trade.

Key aspects of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge:

Connected and autonomous vehicles

  • To save lives, improve our travel experience and enable the creation of a new sector that will support productivity and high value jobs for the UK.
  • The UK is currently ranked top 5 in the world in KPMG’s 2018 Autonomous Vehicle Readiness report

Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles

  • As part of our approach we are developing ambitious missions to tackle these Grand Challenges. Our first mission is to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040

Key aims of the first mission:

  • Drive uptake of the cleanest vehicles
  • Set the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emissions vehicles
  • Support leadership at all levels during the transition to zero emission vehicles
  • Support development of one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world


  • Supporting emerging aviation technologies markets, helping to establish the UK as a global leader in advanced technology and innovation, building on a strong aerospace sector, creating highly skilled jobs and fostering growth.
  • With tens of thousands of commercial drones in the skies by 2030, drone powered solutions could add £42bn to the UK GDP

Taking Action:

  • Government is investing nearly £1.5bn between April 2015 and March 2021 into zero emission vehicles, with grants available for plug in cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, and schemes to support charge points at homes and workplaces and on residential streets.
  • The Road to Zero Strategy sets out the Government’s plans to support the move to zero emission vehicles.
  • 11 countries sign the UK’s new international declaration on low emissions, kick starting a new era of global collaboration at the Zero Emissions Vehicle Summit in Birmingham (11-12 September 2018).
  • We are committed to investing £100m, match funded by industry, to support both national and international organisations to test infrastructure
  • We have one of the most comprehensive packages of support in the world – we are investing nearly £1.5bn into consumer incentives, infrastructure support and R&D and commercialisation, including through the £246m Faraday Battery Challenge and the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

A UK leader in connected and autonomous vehicles

  • The Autodrive project is one of the UK’s largest projects trialling connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
  • It emerged from the UK Government’s ‘Introducing driverless cars’ competition in 2014, aimed at positioning the UK as the global hub where these new technologies can be developed. The ambition was to see driverless cars on the road by 2021.
  • It has recently completed the ‘world’s first’ tests involving more than one connected and autonomous vehicle.
  • The three-day demonstrations took place across two cities and the trials involved a dozen vehicles, three of which were conventional cars while the rest were driverless pods, currently finding a market in large facilities, such as airports, logistics centres and campuses.
  • All trials will provide valuable data on the road to bringing the technology to the mass market.
  • Trials of increasing complexity have shown the functionality and potential of connected and self-driving cars, and demonstrated how a low-carbon, on-demand transportation system might work.
  • The programme has also delivered a fleet of lightweight, autonomous ‘pods’ which have been designed to operate last-mile services in an urban environment.
  • The pods have demonstrated how they could be used to provide a public transport service to residents of Milton Keynes.
  • The Arup-led consortium includes local authorities, technology and automotive businesses, and academic institutions who worked together, not only to develop the new technologies, but also explore the wider legal, insurance, data protection and public acceptance implications that impact adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles into the urban environment
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