NEWS that ground-breaking transport technology being pioneered in Oxfordshire has won a share of a £51m government prize has been welcomed by two council leaders.

Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE), based at Culham Science Centre, is to receive £6.9m from the Department of Transport towards its 10m project to set up a range of driverless car test areas mimicking realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads.

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth commented: "Driverless vehicles undoubtedly represent the future of transport and the fact that this technology is being pioneered in Oxfordshire is very exciting.

"We welcome continued support from the government into the research and development sectors in Oxfordshire as it is clearly a major centre for Driverless Car technology and development.

"The work being done by RACE will allow Oxfordshire and UK companies in this sector access to unique real world test facilities. As a proactive county council that is already establishing itself as a leading authority in the field of smart transport and driverless technology I am delighted with this funding."

South Oxfordshire District Council leader John Cotton added: "RACE is a fantastic organisation renowned for its excellence in robotic engineering. We are delighted they have received central government funding to develop and test their autonomous cars in our district."