LONDON: British Finance Minister Philip Hammond is to announce a fund of 75 million pounds for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and plans to put driverless cars on UK roads by 2021, in his budget speech on Wednesday.
Hammond will announce regulation changes to allow Britain’s driverless car industry, which the government estimates will be worth 28 billion pounds by 2035, to get cars on the road within as little as three years, according to extracts of the budget released by his office on Sunday.
“Some would say that is a bold move, but I believe we have to embrace these technologies if we want to see Britain leading the next industrial revolution,” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
The minister, who is under pressure to deliver an eye-catching budget following Brexit spats with cabinet colleagues, will also announce a 400m fund for companies hoping to roll out charge points for electric cars across the country.
People who want to buy a battery-electric vehicle will also be able to access funding as Britain attempts to move towards zero-emission transport.
With a focus on technology industries, the government is also planning to spend 75m on supporting companies developing AI and 160m on developing 5G technology, which it believes will be necessary for the mass rollout of driverless cars.
However, the Conservative minister is likely to be judged more on his social spending policies, particularly on his housing policy in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster that killed 71 people.
He is expected to announce plans to build 300,000 homes every year, telling the Sunday Times that he will do “whatever it takes” to meet the target.