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Vectos project receives government green-light for first use of autonomous vehicles on UK roads

Vectos is proud to announce Innovate UK’s award of £2.5 million to trial self-driving vehicles at Milton Park; a large, high-tech business hub near Didcot. This project will be the first use of fully connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) on public roads.

Despite being relatively close to Didcot Parkway station where Western Railway trains operate, most travel is currently made in private vehicles. With MEPC’s Milton Park site set to expand in the coming years, the MultiCAV consortium is building on Vectos’ work to provide the park with long-term, safe, sustainable transport.

The vision is to establish a truly multi-modal Mobility as a Service (MaaS) offer, for the first time using a range of autonomous electric vehicles, seamlessly integrated into an end-to-end MaaS system. 

Commuters will be able to connect with the self-driving pods from local transport services, while booking and paying for their trip in one easy process. By connecting Milton Park with the existing regional transport infrastructure commuters will see a tangible reason to leave their cars at home.

It is hoped that by the end of the trial up to 50% of private vehicle journeys within the business park will switch to using the shared, electric-powered pods.

Veronica Reynolds, Behavioural Change Advisor at Vectos, said: “A key aim of the Milton Park Travel Forum is to work closely with the Park’s business leaders to future-proof the park’s transport offer.  This innovative new project builds on the work of that Forum and its vision to provide more and greener travel options.  We would like to thank everyone at Milton Park for the support we have received to date which has undoubtedly contributed to the success in securing this project funding.”

Philip Campbell, Commercial Director for MEPC at Milton Park said: “Milton Park is at the heart of UK’s most fertile innovation economy and this project is about using technology developed by some of the best brains in the world to improve sustainable transport choice. The fruition of this project will give Milton Park occupiers better choice in their daily travel decisions and the chance to be amongst the first in the world to travel on autonomous shuttle vehicles for their everyday journeys.”

The 30-month project will be undertaken by a consortium of organisations with different sector backgrounds who are investing in the development of autonomous vehicles and will be led by UK transport operator FirstGroup. It is a huge step towards tackling congestion on our roads and enabling the sustainable future development of Milton Park and, potentially, other similar sites in the future.