The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has announced the shortlisted ideas from its Roads for the Future competition.
Launched in January 2018, the Roads for the Future competition is an innovation prize that has sought ideas for delivering a world class road network for connected and autonomous vehicles.
As part of the competition, the NIC asked for ideas throughout the industry about how the road network can ready itself for driverless vehicles, including how the latest technology can be incorporated.
From the 81 entries, Sir John Armitt, the Chairman of the NIC, and the rest of the judging panel have whittled the entries down to five.
Ideas from these finalists include segregated driverless zones, sat-navs learning through artificial intelligence, smart traffic lights and flexible use of kerbsides.
The five shortlisted ideas come from AECOM, Arup, City Science, Immense, and Leeds City Council, all of whom will receive up to £30,000 to test their ideas, with the winner receiving £50,000.
The other four commended entries will be given the opportunity to contact government and industry figures to test these ideas.
Sir John Armitt said: “We can see for ourselves the progress in developing cars for the future, with trials of driverless cars taking place across the country – we now need to make sure the technology on our roads keep up.
“The creativity and ingenuity of all the entries we received was very impressive, with many making the most of our existing network to prepare for these latest innovations.
“These five entries clearly stood out and I look forward to seeing how their ideas develop further over the coming months.”
Of the ideas taken forward, the use of artificial intelligence – something that a number of industries are developing – has been earmarked as something that could help sat-nav systems to ‘learn’ better routes to improve the directions they give, meaning both driven and driverless cars could change course to avoid congestion.
Elsewhere, AECOM is investigating how smart signals could advise drivers and vehicles of the speeds they should be driving at, so that they are able to arrive at the next set of traffic lights as they turn green, therefore cutting congestion and pollution.