The British government has unveiled a £2m feasibility fund for UK firms to work on systems that test cyber security technologies on driverless cars - and their associated infrastructure.


The government eventually wants the research to underpin a testing facility that will ensure UK autonomous vehicles are impervious to hackers.


The initiative is being managed through The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), Zenzic (formally Meridian Mobility) and Innovate UK - part of the nation's state-backed UK Research and Innovation.               


The threat of autonomous cars being hacked is a key concern for both carmakers and government agencies and this move aims to keep British motorists safe as driverless vehicles appear on our roads.


The ultimate fear is that hackers might develop ways to take control of autonomous cars - which could lead to life-threatening situations on UK roads.               


Up to five research projects will receive cash sums of up to £400,000. The completion of these projects must cost between £50,000 and £800,000.


The fund will potentially go towards a wide range of systems related to driverless car security. Eligible firms must work towards developing ways to create and test vehicles' hardware, software and roadside infrastructure.


The government also wants the successful companies to research the future-proofing of test systems, as well as work towards creating state-backed certification processes, so the facility grows with the industry.


Commercial opportunities related to these technologies and systems should also be explored by successful companies and deliver test facility input specifications - whether virtual, physical, or both.