Funding competition Connected and autonomous vehicles test bed

Businesses and research organisations can apply for a share of up to £55 million to create the world's most effective CAV testing ecosystem.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections

Description

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) has a £100 million fund to invest in CAV test bed infrastructure. This competition is for up to £55 million in projects to develop connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing infrastructure.

The aim is to create the world’s most effective CAV testing ecosystem. Proposals should integrate existing proving grounds and public road test sites across the UK’s existing automotive and technology heartlands. They should improve current capabilities and create new ones.

CCAV is expecting to invest up to £7 million to £18 million per project, depending on the competition stream. It expects to support up to 4 projects. Preference will be given to projects that can deliver operational facilities and be open for business within 12 to 18 months.

Projects will be supported through investment aid for research infrastructures. This is a form of state aid and is limited to 50% of the investment costs.

Organisations must work with others, but consortia should contain no more than 5 partners. A business or research organisation may lead the project.

Projects that vary from these expectations may be considered. You should consult with Innovate UK via customer support service before the registration close date.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

£7 million to £18 million per project.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

To be part of a project, you must:

  • be a UK-based business of any size
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work in collaboration with others (for example, businesses, research or third sector organisations)

Projects that we won't fund

In this competition, we are not funding:

  • crash and extreme condition handling, other than described in stream 3
  • emissions testing only. These facilities should be managed separately. They are encouraged for inclusion/integration for a holistic ULEV-CAV approach, but will not be eligible to attract grant funding in this competition

Funding and project details

We have allocated up to £55 million to fund research infrastructure projects in this competition.
Funding for project types

CCAV are expecting to invest:

  • stream 1: up to £35 million to support up to 2 projects
  • stream 2: up to £7 million to support a single project
  • stream 3: up to £13 million to support a single project

Preference will be given to projects that can deliver operational facilities and be open for business in 12 to 18 months.

Projects outside these ranges can be considered but you should consult with Innovate UK before the registration close date. Projects with industry match funding within the investment stage of the project (that is, a 12 to 18 month build phase) will be preferred.

Funding is capped at a maximum of 20 million euros per infrastructure project on the date of the grant offer letter.

All project partners must contribute a percentage of grant received to the CAV hub running costs.

Your project is expected to focus on investment aid for research infrastructures. Support given for construction or upgrade of research infrastructures that perform economic activities is considered state aid (see page 18 of the linked PDF and take note of the worked example especially if you are a research organisation) and is limited to 50% of the investment costs.

You may apply for funding support:

  • up to 50% of your eligible project costs if you are a business of any size
  • up to 100% of your eligible project costs if you are a non-profit distributing research organisation. In this case, you must demonstrate how the match funding for investment in the facility will be contributed after the project. This must be a minimum of the grant value requested and might include areas such as maintenance costs, tracking the use of assets, and so on

We expect projects to have:

  • at least a 30% industry contribution to the initial investment
  • at least a 50% industry contribution to the lifetime costs of the facility

Projects must carry out economic activity and track the use of the assets. Teams must supply Innovate UK and CCAV with regular updates through quarterly monitoring meetings.

The competition scope

The aim of this competition is to create the world’s most effective connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing ecosystem by creating a number of distinct test capabilities.

Proposals should integrate existing proving grounds and public road test sites across the UK’s existing automotive and technology heartlands. They should improve existing capabilities and create new ones.

Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) wish to establish an open environment of projects to work together as part of a UK-wide initiative.

This competition is run under a different state aid scheme to standard Innovate UK competitions. Please see the funding section for more details.

Competition streams

The competition will support projects in 3 streams. We are looking to fund:

Stream 1: 1 to 2 public test environments in an urban and/or highly dense city location.

Stream 2: a controlled test facility representative of an urban and/or city environment. Projects submitted in this stream may include (but are not required to):

  • semi-controlled environments such as university campuses and science and industry parks where the semi-controlled nature of the facility can be clearly demonstrated
  • a virtual environment that includes physical elements, for example, simulators

Stream 3: a realistic, controlled high-speed, limit-handling environment. This environment will enable the creation of a diverse range of test scenarios. Some examples include vehicle to everything (V2X) interactions, collision avoidance and limit handling. Projects submitted in this stream may include (but are not required to) a virtual environment that includes physical elements, such as simulators.

For all streams, linked proposals will be considered favourably if they save costs and improve outcomes.

Test environments

For all streams we are looking to fund globally significant projects that allow for:

  • testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in an appropriate and realistic environment
  • testing V2X connectivity capabilities and methodologies
  • testing of equipment that may interact with CAVs, for example, roadside infrastructure

The facility should:

  • be safe and secure
  • facilitate ‘corner case’ testing (when multiple variables are simultaneously tested at extreme levels, which is hard to do outside dedicated facilities)
  • replicate real-world conditions
  • be demonstrably representative of the target environment in the UK, and other appropriate target CAV markets
  • include options to anticipate and test faults in the system
  • have available suitable test equipment such as other vehicles (CAV or non-CAV) and the ability to simulate other road users, for example, pedestrians and cyclists

Examples customers and test scenarios could include:

  • CAV manufacturers developing and validating their devices and vehicles
  • telecoms companies validating new communications hardware
  • mobility as service companies testing new business models
  • SMEs testing the underpinning AV technology

We expect projects to provide core infrastructure that can support modular units to test different equipment. The core infrastructure system should be future-proofed as far as possible.

The bid team must propose test scenarios supported by a business model. Proposals should detail how the test facility will replicate as many scenarios as possible (target 100%).

Facilities that support ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) compatibility, with features such as non-manual charging, will be preferred. These features should require no more than 5% of the total grant requested. Additional private funding can be used for ULEV facilities but should not form part of the grant request. This funding is for the CAV testing capability.

Preference will be given to proposals that use existing test facilities. This will minimise costs and give confidence in the proposed business model. Projects must provide evidence of board-level support from chosen test facilities.

Innovate UK and CCAV request that supported projects work together as part of joint governance of the UK CAV test bed ecosystem.

Test facility location

The competition scope requests that any test facility site should be located within a defined area. CCAV research has identified the defined area as a UK area of excellence for CCAV innovation. This area contains some of the UK’s leading automotive test facilities including many projects supported by CCAV, such as:

The competition aims to encourage and support a cluster of test facilities within the defined area. This is to improve the productivity and efficiency of businesses and research organisations involved, for the benefit the UK.

This defined area is a rectangle that covers part of the West Midlands through to the south-east. It starts from the north-west of Leicester down to Basildon, across to the south of Guildford, then up to the north-west of Worcester and back to the north-west of Leicester.

All locations that fall within this area are eligible for the test facility site. Facilities may be located anywhere within this area, including:

  • Coventry
  • Royal Leamington Spa
  • Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Northampton
  • Milton Keynes
  • Oxford
  • Luton
  • London
  • Reading
  • Croydon
  • Guildford

If your test facility site falls just outside this area, please contact Innovate UK via support@innovateuk.gov.uk or 0300 321 4357 to discuss your options. Projects outside this scope must consult with Innovate UK before the registration close date.

map.pdf (opens in a new window)

Project business plans and personnel

A business or a research organisation must lead the project. Organisations must work with others, but consortia should contain no more than 5 partners (lead organisation plus 4 others).

Projects outside the number of partners listed must agree this with Innovate UK before the registration close date.

All projects must submit a collaboration agreement with their proposal documents.

Proposals must include a schedule detailing milestone costs and public investment sought.

Projects will also be judged on their business model and realistic plan for creating and committing to a long-term operational facility. Business models must include marketing, operation and maintenance for at least 10 years beyond the end of the initial investment period of the project. Completed facilities must operate commercially, with users paying a market rate. It must be open to several users on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis, including SMEs.

Facilities that support underpinning AV technologies that have cross-sector applicability (for example, agriculture, public transport, and drones) will be preferred.

Business plans must demonstrate how the facility is customer friendly for all, including international customers. Facilities such as secure garages and general logistics to support testing should be identified.

Projects must agree to work with the CAV hub to deliver a joined up group of UK testing facilities. Each funded facility will be expected to work as part of a UK CAV test ecosystem via a hub-and-spoke structure. Each facility must support the appropriate teams and goals and show an understanding of fitting into the wider testing ecosystem.

Data management and IT

Each facility must deploy protective security (cyber, physical and personnel) by default. Facilities must use consistent and secure data management and communication tools and processes. Separate funding will support a data hub to provide comprehensive data collection, storage and management. Each funded facility must work with the data hub and contribute towards a national CAV ecosystem.

It will be preferable to match data and technology standards chosen to national or international standards, or agreed choices with other industry facilities. Projects must also show how they will obtain any appropriate licences or approvals to use frequencies needed.

If 5G is part of a proposal, projects must work with the 5G test beds and trials programme managed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Projects that vary from any of these expectations must consult with Innovate UK before the registration close date.

3 April 2017
Competition opens
4 April 2017
Briefing event for applicants.
12 July 2017 12:00pm
Registration closes
19 July 2017
Submission deadline, competition closed 12:00 midday.
19 July 2017 12:00pm
Competition closes
30 September 2017
Applicants notified

How to apply

To apply:

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

An independent panel of experts will assess the applications and select the highest-quality projects.

Read Innovate UK’s general guidance for applicants before you apply. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

Guidance for applicants

Please view the guidance and application questions for this competition.

Background and further information

CCAV is a joint policy unit set up by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport. CCAV was established to help ensure that the UK is a world leader in developing and testing CAVs.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at support@innovateuk.gov.uk.

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