‘Self-driving’ lorries to be tested on UK roads

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Platooning experiments have been carried out elsewhere in Europe

Small convoys of partially driverless lorries will be attempted out on vital British roads by a finish of subsequent year, a supervision has announced.

A agreement has been awarded to a Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to lift out a tests of car “platoons”.

Up to 3 lorries will ride in formation, with acceleration and braking tranquil by a lead vehicle.

But a conduct of a AA pronounced platoons lifted reserve concerns.

The TRL will start trials of a record on exam tracks, nonetheless these trials are approaching to pierce to vital roads by a finish of 2018.

The lead car in a platoons will be tranquil by a tellurian motorist and humans will also control a steering in lorries to a back – nonetheless acceleration and braking will be mirrored.

The supervision has been earnest such a plan since during slightest 2014.

Last year, for example, it announced a goal to lift out platooning trials nonetheless was after undone after some European lorrymakers declined to participate.

A Department of Transport orator told a BBC that a experiments are now approaching to go forward as a agreement had been awarded.

The TRL has announced a partners for a project:

  • DAF Trucks, a Dutch lorry manufacturer
  • Ricardo, a British intelligent tech ride firm
  • DHL, a German logistics company

Platooning has been tested in a series of countries around a world, including a US, Germany and Japan.

However, British roads benefaction a singular challenge, pronounced Edmund King, boss of a AA.

“We all wish to foster fuel potency and revoke overload nonetheless we are not nonetheless assured that lorry platooning on UK motorways is a approach to go about it,” he said, indicating out, for example, that tiny convoys of lorries can retard highway signs from a perspective of other highway users.

“We have some of a busiest motorways in Europe with many some-more exits and entries.

“Platooning might work on a miles of forlorn freeways in Arizona or Nevada nonetheless this is not America,” he added.

His comments were echoed by a RAC Foundation.

Its director, Steve Gooding, said: “Streams of close-running HGVs could yield financial assets on long-distance journeys, nonetheless on a heavily undiluted motorways – with stop-start trade and vehicles jostling for position – a advantages are reduction certain.”

Campaign organisation a Road Haulage Association pronounced “safety has to come first”.

Transport Minister Paul Maynard pronounced platooning could lead to cheaper fuel bills, reduce emissions and reduction congestion.

“But initial we contingency make certain a record is protected and works good on a roads, and that’s because we are investing in these trials,” he said.