In another big break-through for driverless vehicles following trials in Milton Keynes, convoys of driverless lorries could be taking to motorways in the UK for trials.
Report suggest that Chancelor George Osborne will confirm funding for a project in the upcoming budget announcement; allowing up to 10 autonomous trucks to convoy a few metres apart on Britain’s motorways.
The M6 near Carlisle is rumoured to be the potential testing area, as a quiet part of the country but still a major road.
The convoys work as a single driver in the front truck leads the convoy and navigates the entry and exit points onto main roads. But the driver isn’t entirely responsible – there’s also infrared sensors and cameras to make sure that all HGVs stay in line.
There’s no news yet on what type of vehicles will be tested, but among the front runners are manufacturers Daimler and Mercedes-Benz; who already have the go-ahead to test such trucks in the US. The British Government have indicated on several occasions that they wish to position the UK as a front-runner in such technology, and the Department for Transport commented on the trials, saying that they have “the potential to bring major improvements to journeys and the UK”, and to save fuel.
The Chancellor’s budget announcement is set for the 16th March – so we will see then how much he commits to these ‘HGV platoons’.
Photo credit: ArsTechnica
Author Lex Barber