The Government has thrown its weight behind driverless cars with a £100 million investment set to boost the West Midlands automotive sector.
George Osborne laid out plans to offer £100 million, which will be matched by the car industry, over five years to fund research into "intelligent mobility".
Already, Coventry-based RDM Group is leading the way when it comes to driverless vehicles after designing and building the "Lutz" pods, set to be used on the streets of Milton Keynes this summer.
The Chancellor was acting to ensure the UK stays ahead in a competitive global marketplace.
David Keene, chief executive of RDM, said: "The UK is currently leading the way but we have to move quickly and ensure we maintain that position by training the best engineers, encouraging innovative collaborations and ensuring we turn the vision into reality.
"Lutz will be a great showcase of what we have achieved with driverless cars to date. However, it is just the start and there's plenty more to come."
The Chancellor said a £200 million investment would ensure the UK was "well placed to profit from the growing market for high-tech vehicles of the future".
The car industry is undergoing a rapid shift as manufacturers seek to introduce connected-vehicle platforms and new autonomous driving features – with Jaguar Land Rover among those leading the way.
The Government has in the past hinted at its desire to adapt to the changing landscape, pledging £19 million in 2014 to set up trials of driverless cars, which were launched last month in Greenwich.
But there are concerns that the UK might lose out in the race to develop the technology because of a lack of investment and, crucially, skills.
Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, chairman of manufacturing group WMG, part of The University of Warwick, and an adviser to JLR, welcomed support for science and infrastructure.
In particular, he hailed the Chancellor's backing for the automotive industry by investing £100 million to stay ahead in the race to driverless technology.
"But overall it was a very political Budget which is what you expect just before a General Election," the Labour peer added.
The investment is key to boosting the skills base, with the automotive sector struggling to adapt to recent growth.
Mike Steventon, Midlands regional chairman at KPMG, said: "A real boon for the region is the announcement of a £100 million investment into developing driverless cars.
"The Midlands is the real heartland of automotive and has one of four driverless pilot areas in Coventry, as well as Europe's finest independent driverless testing facilities at MIRA in Leicestershire.
"Add to that our rich automotive heritage and the investment of JLR into the region, and the Midlands is well placed to lead on an automotive upturn in this Budget."