Northamptonshire could be used as test site for driverless cars

Google driverless car operating on a testing path.
Google driverless car operating on a testing path.

A Northamptonshire town could be used as the site for a government-backed national trial of driverless cars.

Daventry District councillors will next week consider whether to put Daventry forward as a national test site for the consumer testing of automated cars, which are currently being developed by Google and a number of other major motor manufacturers.

In this year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said there would be a £10 million prize fund for the town or city chosen as the site to test driverless cars.

Members of Daventry District Council’s Strategy Group will meet next Thursday to decide whether to recommend promoting part of the district, including the town of Daventry and an adjacent rural area, as a potential test site.

The technology uses existing roads and additional infrastructure, such as overhead tracks or rails, is not required.

The authority recently hosted in international conference on advanced transport and it is hoped that Daventry district’s profile will be raised significantly from a successful bid and attract economic investment from suppliers and operators of automated vehicles.

Councillor Chris Over, the council’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, said: “Our district has already established a reputation internationally for exploring innovative transport solutions. Our valuable knowledge and experience in this field places us in an ideal position to host a test site for driverless cars.

“Exploring the Chancellor’s proposals in this way confirms that we intend to keep Daventry and the wider district at the leading edge of applied high tech engineering and innovative transport solutions.

“Officers have outlined both the benefits and potential risks that hosting such a test site would bring to Daventry district and all of these aspects will be carefully considered by strategy group members at their meeting next week.”

The meeting of the council’s strategy group takes place on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6.15pm in the Council Chamber, Lodge Road, Daventry.

To view the meeting agenda and reports, visit