Driverless truck tests on UK roads

"Platoons" of driverless trucks are to be road-tested on a major motorway in the UK, a British newspaper reports.

Driverless trucks are to be tested in "platoons" on British motorways as part of a UK government drive to bring major improvements to journeys.

According to reports, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm funding for the initiative in his budget next week.

The Sunday Times also reports that a stretch of the M6 near Carlisle has been earmarked as a potential test route for the automated juggernauts, which will be able to travel in a tightly-packed convoy that improves fuel consumption by reducing drag.

Steering, acceleration and braking of the road train will be controlled by a driver in the lead vehicle, the newspaper said, although the drones will have a driver in each cab as a safety precaution to regain control in the event of an emergency.

However, there are hopes that the technology could one day improve road safety.

The Department for Transport could not confirm the location of the test route or timetable and would not speculate on whether the research will receive funding in the budget, although it said planning for trials was under way.

"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," a spokeswoman said.

"We are planning trials of HGV platoons - which enable vehicles to move in a group so they use less fuel - and will be in a position to say more in due course."

2 min read
Published 6 March 2016 at 7:02pm
Source: AAP