UK Government is hoping the move will reduce business costs and lower emissions
In a bid to reduce business costs, the UK Government will be trialling driverless trucks on Britain’s roads in 2018.
According to the Government, the £8.1million project will hopefully help to cut pollution across the country and reduce business costs.
The Transport Research Laboratory has been granted permission from the DfT to trial a convoy of driverless trucks from next year here in the UK.
The convey will consist of three trucks which will be lead by one vehicle that’s in charge of the controls, including steering, acceleration and braking.
Each truck will be linked together via connected technology and automated driving systems but will have a driver in each of the trucks to take over the controls if required.
A human driver will be in the lead truck in charge of controlling the direction and pace of the convoy following behind.
Each of the three trucks behind the leader will automatically copy its movements, leaving a specified distance between them and the lead truck – it’s believed this will help improve on fuel economy and lower emissions because the lead truck pushes air out of the way, therefore making the convoy of trucks more efficient.
When the trials start next year, they’ll be done in three phases, with the first tests carried out on closed test tracks. This will help them to find out what the correct distance the following trucks in the convoy need to sustain.
Actual road trials are supposed to start at the end of 2018.
Other such trials have already taken place in the United States and places in Europe.
“Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users thanks to lower emissions and less congestion,” said Transport Minister Paul Maynard.
The planned tests have thrown up a number of issues concerning road safety, with president of the AA, Edmund King, claiming the large convoys might interfere with the visibility of roads signs and junctions for some of the drivers.
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