Plans to put driverless cars on Britain’s roads have been fired up by a government decision to support a consortium led by a veteran technology entrepreneur.
Stan Boland, pictured, leads the StreetWise project, which will receive £12.8m from Whitehall for its £23m project to test driverless vehicles on London’s roads in two years.
The Streetwise consortium is led by Boland’s FiveAI, a Cambridge and Bristol start-up that uses artificial intelligence for software to run driverless cars. It includes the Transport Research Laboratory, Oxford University, Transport for London and insurer Direct Line.
The grant underlines the commitment to supporting driverless cars and AI in business secretary Greg Clark’s industrial strategy green paper.
“We can look to become a technology leader and catch up with countries such as the US, Germany and Sweden that have already staked their claim in the market,” said Boland, 57, who started FiveAI, whose backers include Amadeus Capital Partners, in 2015. He has a strong track record of building technology firms. At Acorn Computers, he created a new business called Element 14, which was bought by US giant Broadcom in 2000 for $640m.
He co-founded chip designer Icera, sold to America’s Nvidia in 2011 for $367m (£286m).
The London trial will test a “personal mobility service” for commuters to cut congestion and pollution, improve safety and free up parking spaces.