A OXFORDSHIRE company is set to receive millions of pounds of government funding to develop its driverless car technology for use in heavy machinery.

Oxbotica will work with construction giant Caterpillar to create an autonomous truck for off road use in ‘extreme environments’ such as mines.

The project, which could ‘revolutionise’ the construction and mining industry, is among 22 sharing £22.4million Government funding as part of a third wave of investment in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV).

The Culham-based start up is also working with the Californian company AiPod to develop a fleet of ten smart cars which could change the way families travel, bringing its share of the money to £12million.

Automotive Minister Richard Harrington announced the new funding during a visit to Oxfordshire when he was taken on a drive around the science campus in one of Oxbotica’s driverless cars.

Mr Harrington said his first trip was an ‘experience’ and said he felt like ‘part of the futur'e.

He added: “From my point of view I am so pleased my department has been at the forefront of the helping to develop this technology.

“It has the potential to change millions of people’s lives and it’s being done here - not in California, Australia or Singapore - but here in Oxfordshire.

“I believe it is a second industrial revolution, where, just like in the original, Britain is developing technology that is exported all over the world.”

The two-year project with Caterpillar will see Oxbotica place the same system it is currently developing for cars into an articulated truck.

With no road marks or other traffic to help navigate, the technology will have to adapt to new environments.

It is hoped it will help increase productivity and reduce worker fatigue.

Brent Losey, a product line manager at Caterpillar, said he could see construction sites being as automated as factories ‘one day’.

Steve Gledden, a founder and chief revenue officer for AiPod said the company was finding some of the best technology partners in the world in Oxfordshire.

They will develop technology to be piloted in London with ten families paired with smart pods that will help them complete the first and last mile of their journeys.

Pods will be synchronised with their diaries and able to make journeys such as taking the children to school, collecting people from the train station and driving to the shops, akin to a more complicated park-and-ride.

The technology could help to ease congestion and reduce the need to own a car.