Semi-autonomous trucks will be trialled on United Kingdom highways from 2018 following the recent successful trials elsewhere in Europe and in the USA.
The UK government is tipping in AU$13.1 million to enable ‘Platooning’ trials, which sees a convoy of trucks follow the manual inputs of a lead truck in the way of braking, acceleration and steering.
Through the trial, the ‘follow’ trucks would also have a driver present to intervene if needed.
According to transport minister Paul Maynard, platooning is more efficient and sees fuel savings for the following trucks. “Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users, thanks to lower emissions and less congestion,” Transport Minister Paul Maynard said.
“Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users, thanks to lower emissions and less congestion,” Maynard said.
“But first we must make sure the technology is safe and works well on our roads and that’s why we are investing in these trials.”
The president of the Automobile Association is critical of the trial though, saying the smaller highways in the UK do not lend them geared towards autonomous convoys and he would rather see the electrification of heavy vehicles.
“This is not America, we do not have massive freeways like in Nevada and Arizona where you’ve got long stretches of road that are pretty open,” said Edmund King.
“If you look at the UK, we have more entrances and exits to our motorways and they are much more congested.”