Trials of self-driving lorries are to take to UK roads by the end of 2018, following similar pilots in Europe and the United States.
Vehicles on motorway
The trials could cut emissions and fuel costs.
Funded by an £8.1m investment from the DfT, the ‘platooning’ trials will see up to three lorries travel in convoy, with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle. The technology could help cut congestion as well as lower emissions and fuel costs, with the latter hopefully leading to savings for consumers.
The trials follows a 2014 government-funded feasibility study which recommended a trial to examine the benefits and viability of platooning.
The trials will see the Transport Research Laboratory lead a consortium of partners including DAF Trucks, Ricardo, who worked with TRL to deliver the feasibility study for the DfT, and logistics giant DHL.
“The trial has the potential to demonstrate how greater automation of vehicles – in this instance, HGVs – can deliver improvements in safety, better journeys for road users and reduction in vehicle emissions.”
“We have some of the busiest motorways in Europe with many more exits and entries. Platooning may work on the miles of deserted freeways in Arizona or Nevada but this is not America.”