A self driving truck (Daimler Trucks North America)

10-vehicle “platoons” of driverless lorries to be tested in UK

7 March 2016 | By Joe Quirke 7 Comments

UK Chancellor George Osborne has announced that convoys of driverless heavy goods vehicles will be tested on British motorways later this year.

Up to 10 autonomous vehicles will travel in a group called an “HGV platoon”, which will use less petrol than conventional road haulage, as well as taking up less of the road. Tests are due to be carried out on a quiet stretch of the M6 in Cumbria.

A Department for Transport spokesman told the BBC: “New technology has the potential to bring major improvements to journeys, and the UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and driverless vehicles.”  

Edmund King, the president of the Automobile Association, warned that the idea may present difficulties to existing road users. He said: “The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits than any other in Europe or indeed the world, and therefore it’s very difficult to have a 44-tonne 10-lorry platoon because other vehicles need to get past it to enter or exit the road.”

An autonomous truck has been licensed to operate on public highways in the US state of Nevada.

Last year a driverless truck corridor running from Mexico to Canada was proposed.

London transport chiefs are hoping to persuade Google to test its self-driving cars in the capital.

Image: A self-driving truck (Daimler Trucks North America)