£10m car pilot bid wins town backing

The Google self-driving car maneuvers through the streets of in Washington, DC
The Google self-driving car maneuvers through the streets of in Washington, DC

Councillors have backed a bid to bring a £10 million national pilot project for driverless cars to the Daventry area.

Daventry District Council’s Strategy group supported the idea after a discussion on Thursday night last week.

At the meeting, Cllr Chris Over said: “There are a number of potential benefits to this council and district.

“Daventry has been positioned at the forefront of innovative public transport solutions.

“This project does not place any undue burden on this council in terms of time or resources. On the contrary, it could bring in considerable money.”

Cllr Alan Hills said: “When we hosted the transport conference at the leisure centre with the demonstration of the pods, it was amazing that many of the people came from across Europe and the USA. It certainly put Daventry on the map.

“It could bring jobs and extra people to Daventry to spend their money.”

Officers told the meeting the Government’s view was that driverless cars will be common on the UK’s roads within a few years, and this bid, if successful, simply meant they would be introduced to the Daventry district a couple of years earlier.

Simon Bovey, DDC’s deputy chief executive, said: “To me it’s win-win. If we bid and are successful we get the test; if we’re not successful we’ll have shown that we’re open to new ideas.”

Driverless cars use scanners, satellite navigation and computing power to work out where they are and detect obstacles and other hazards.

BMW, Mercedes, General Motors and Nissan have all produced driverless cars, while Google has modified Lexuses and Toyotas.

A final decision will be made by district councillors in February.