Oxfordshire County Council logo

Connected and automated vehicles (CAV) trials

Information for organisations who want to trial automated vehicles (CAV) on Oxfordshire highways.

Connected and automated vehicles (CAV) in Oxfordshire

According to Planning for Connected and Automated Vehicles, published by the Centre for Automotive Research, "the term 'connected and automated vehicle' can refer to a variety of vehicle technologies currently being implemented to improve travel."

The field of CAVs is developing rapidly nationally and internationally. Oxfordshire is home to some of the world's leading companies in the area of CAVs. There are companies involved with:

  • vehicle production
  • software design
  • testing
  • cybersecurity
  • simulation
  • human-machine interface
  • public engagement.

How Oxfordshire County council is involved

We are an enabler, advisor and partner in several externally-funded projects, including:

Engaging with us

According to the DfT Code of Practice, there is a need to engage with the highways authority. We have streamlined this process to reduce uncertainty and red tape. 

We expect trialling organisations to be honest and transparent when working with us.

Conducting trials on publicly accessible roads in Oxfordshire

Trialling organisations must complete and return the trial engagement questionnaire at least three weeks before the planned start date.

Upload the complete questionnaire to the CAV contact form.

What happens next

For most trials, we would expect a follow-up meeting to discuss the aims of the trial. Network management or emergency services may ask questions at this meeting.

In rare cases of high-risk trials, we might ask for further details or engagement.

What you can expect from us

We aim to enable innovation for the public benefit. We will show appropriate consideration and due diligence while minimising any barriers.

We are keen to share insights and collaborate on timely public engagement. 

Local trials

The following projects have engaged with us for trials on public roads:

RACE is part of the Millbrook-Culham Zenzic CAM testbed, with regular trials being conducted on their grounds.

Why we are involved

We have been supporting industry growth towards mobility that is:

  • safe
  • equitable
  • accessible
  • inclusive.

Benefits aligned to our corporate plan

Numerous studies on the potential benefits of CAVs align with our vision for Oxfordshire. This corporate plan includes the examples below.

Thriving communities

  • The majority of traffic incidents are due to human error. 
  • An increasing percentage of the population cannot drive, resulting in reduced independence. 
  • 'Cruising' for parking and inefficient routing increases both congestion and emissions. CAVs can enable more productive use of time.

Thriving economy

According to the latest market forecasts:

  • in the 'central scenario,' the UK CAV domestic market will be worth £41.7Bn
  • in the 'global scenario', it could be worth £650M by 2035
  • direct jobs are predicted to be 49,000 by 2035 in the UK
  • the value of the global market for intelligent mobility by 2030 is estimated to be £1.4Tr.

Other key benefits

Connectivity and autonomy can be applied to vehicles from internal combustion engine robotaxis to electric autonomous buses. 

A better CAV system could deliver more accessible space for road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. It is consistent with our strategy to increase the use of public and shared transport and enable healthy modes of transport.

We want to enable the key benefits for Oxfordshire's:

  • residents
  • businesses
  • the transport network.

Addressing concerns

There are concerns that if we do not deploy CAVs holistically and equitably, they could lead to:

  • increased congestion
  • pollution
  • social inequalities.

Additionally, we want to ensure the best value for public money. 

Policy background

There is significant public policy precedent in the field of CAVs, at the national and regional level.

UK government policy

European policy

  • The European Commission has published Europe on the Move (2018) The publication sets out its strategy for automated and connected mobility systems. Although the UK is no longer part of the European Union, significant research collaborations are influenced by this strategy.

Local government and regional policy

We are working closely with the UK Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles on numerous projects.