The scheme has been launched by the Department for Transport, alongside the British Standards Institution (BSI), the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and industry groups Innovate UK and Zenzic.
Government research suggests that the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry will be worth an estimated £52 billion by 2035, with supporters of the technology predicting it will reduce the number of collisions and the amount of congestion on roads. The UK has already hosted a number of trials of autonomous vehicles.
The new programme will look at creating standards across areas such as safety, cybersecurity and the deployment of autonomous vehicle services.
Future of Mobility Minister Michael Ellis said: “Self-driving vehicles have the potential to transform the way we travel, helping improve road safety while creating economic benefits.
“The introduction of these new standards will ensure safety remains our top priority, as we work to accelerate the successful introduction of exciting pioneering technology.”
Dr Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI, said the new creation of industry-wide standards for the technology could speed up its rollout and help place the UK at the forefront of the industry.
“Successful deployment of automated vehicles in the UK depends on overcoming a wide range of challenges in infrastructure, public safety and changes to traditional automotive manufacturing, particularly in relation to software, sensors and new methods of validation and testing,” he said.
“A set of strong, widely accepted standards will cement the UK’s global lead in this space and promote greater trust in these technologies. This important programme of work will add to our existing portfolio of innovative standards in areas such as automotive cyber security, robot ethics and smart cities.”