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

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)

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  1. Comments on driverless lorries
    So what happens to all of the drivers ?
    How will they make a living?
    Next will come busses taxis etc , imagine the unemployment

  2. Hasten Slowly ! One such Freight Truck extremely well automated and with dark tinted glass driver’s cab wind screen and door glass could conceivably go totally unnoticed by most drivers on the roads! However a whole line in convoy is really asking for huge trouble and potentially fatal road accidents!! They ,the automation jockeys, obviously do not have the knowledge and experience of seasoned heavy duty truck drivers even to conceive of such an idea! Its a thoroughly bad idea to run any such type convoy even with human drivers let alone automated trucks! Save our roads! – let them revert to rail,canal or sea haulage where ever feasible and keep those great truck drivers on runs which require them!!

  3. Think of the children!

    The future’s coming – get ready.

  4. I like William Grime’s commend the best

  5. This is a big F U to the people, in my opinion, lead by selfish moneymakers. Just going to create unemployment and as with all technology, there will be many glitches, and glitches in a big heavy beast of a truck, means big accident, lots of innocent people get killed, and lots of infrastructure and/or buildings get damaged. There’s a line you shouldnt be able to cross, when it comes to technologies.

  6. Surely driverless trains would be easier, safer and more cost efficient to implement?
    Glad that I live in Australia and won’t be on the roads with them!!

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