Funding competition Connected and autonomous vehicles 4: piloting passenger services

UK businesses can apply for funding to research new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies and demonstrate them in a real-world trial.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is to invest up to £25 million in industry-led projects that develop and then 'pilot' CAV services at scale in a UK setting.

This competition will fund collaborative research and development projects.

We expect to fund 2 to 4 high quality projects that can demonstrate UK capability and technologies to a global audience.

Pilot studies are expected to develop and then test connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in a real-world public or semi-controlled environment, with at least a 6 month public trial. We are looking for ambitious proposals where the commercial benefit is strong and there is a clear route to a commercial operation after the project. As such, the projects should be large enough to test and demonstrate the underlying business and operating model.

Projects must be focused on developing and using SAE level 4 automation or above in the context of a new mobility service.

All projects must be collaborative, business led and conduct their research and development (R&D) in the UK.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email us at least 10 days before the competition closes.

Funding type


Project size

Total eligible project costs can range in size from £5 million to £20 million. Projects must last between 18 and 30 months and be completed by 31 March 2022.

Who can apply

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business of any size
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector)

To collaborate in a project you must be a UK based:

  • business of any size
  • research organisation or
  • academic organisation

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects:

  • that do not meet the scope of this competition
  • that do not result in an on-vehicle demonstration or trial, at scale
  • that cover other modes of transport outside the automotive space, (for example rail or marine) but how CAVs interact with the wider transport system is in scope
  • where infrastructure or supporting systems are the primary cost, however costs for the supporting systems required to enable vehicle technology are eligible


We have allocated up to £25 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Project types

Your project can focus on industrial research or experimental development. This will depend on the challenge.

For industrial research, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Your proposal

This competition is focused on projects that 'pilot' CAV services at scale in a UK setting.

We expect to fund 2 to 4 high quality proposals that will demonstrate UK capabilities and technologies to a global audience. Your project must be ambitious in its scale. It must be appropriate for testing and validating:

  • the technologies
  • whether the public will accept them
  • the business models which will deliver the service itself

Your project must focus on a viable business opportunity and operating model. The aim is to develop capabilities which can be introduced as services by 2020 and stay in use for a significant period of time. Vehicles should be appropriate to the situation they are used in. Projects and trials can be either in an urban, inter-urban or rural setting, or any combination of these.

You must include social behavioural research in your project to learn more about what will help the public accept CAVs. This research must be applied to the development of your service model.

Your service model should improve the efficiency of journeys in terms of times and costs. You must explain how it will benefit users and communities and, where appropriate, link to other modes of transportation.

Your project team must include the organisations you need to develop and scale up the technology, the business model and the delivery of the service.

Your project must:

  • include a 6 to 12-month pilot, at scale, in a semi-controlled or public environment.
  • support the development of solutions for SAE level 4 automation and above
  • include a final report and a dissemination plan
  • be safe and dependable
  • show a clear route to market and detail how you plan to exploit the results of the pilot, including how services could be continued after the project with a viable business model, which could be achieved by including an end customer or local authority in the consortium
  • share what you learn with other projects including by taking part in the Innovate UK and CCAV workshops, which will be held every 6 months

We may adopt a portfolio approach to this competition.

25 June 2018
Competition opens
26 June 2018
London briefing event recording.
27 June 2018
Cardiff briefing event.
28 June 2018
Belfast briefing event.
3 July 2018
Glasgow briefing event.
5 July 2018
Sunderland briefing event.
19 September 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
5 October 2018
Invite to interview.
8 October 2018
Feedback to interviewees.
19 October 2018
Deadline for response to feedback and presentation.
29 October 2018
30 October 2018
31 October 2018
1 November 2018
21 November 2018 4:46pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the project if your application is successful

Collaborating organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.


If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview, where you will need to give a presentation.

Presentations must use Microsoft PowerPoint and be a maximum of 30 minutes long, with no more than 20 slides. Please do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 45 minutes of questions and answers and, if it is needed, a second questions and answers session lasting 15 minutes.

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email we will send inviting you to an interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date.

Up to 9 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on all of the published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

You will be expected to answer questions based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Project scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. Following assessment, you will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1: Need or challenge

What is the business need, citizen challenge, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this.

Question 2: Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3: Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4: Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5: Outcomes and route to market

How do you propose to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why would they use or buy it?
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6: Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 7: Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for a successful and innovative project outcome.
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You can upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8: Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You can upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9: Additionality

Describe the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10: Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise?
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation to complete project costs, organisational details and funding details for each organisation in your project. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

In the project growth table please enter zero in all the columns as this information is not necessary at this stage.

Background and further information

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is a joint policy unit set up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport.

CCAV was established to help ensure that the UK is a world leader in developing and testing connected and autonomous vehicles. It aims to achieve this in part through £100 million of funding (match-funded by industry). This is to support industry-led research and development over 5 years.

You can read about the previous R&D projects funded by CCAV in the summary booklet.

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

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