Trials of autonomous HGV convoys on motorways reprotedly set to begin later this year
The government is to give the green light to a trial of driverless lorries on Britain’s roads, accelerating the development of self-driving vehicles.
According to The Times, trials of HGV vehicles moving in a convoy, following a human driver in the leading lorry, are set to begin later this year, although exactly where the trials will take place is still to be confirmed.
The plans are set to be officially announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Budget speech this month as part of efforts to speed up lorry deliveries and cut congestion, which is hoped will make British businesses more profitable.
“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 Department for Transport spokesman is quoted as saying.
“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.”
A survey from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) predicts driverless cars will add £51 billion a year to the UK economy due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.
Earlier this month, the government pledged a further £20 million towards the development of driverless car technology in the UK, which will fund eight new projects across the country.
This could include Google’s famous self-driving cars coming to London’s roads, as the search giant looks to expand the reach of its work to new countries. If approved, Google’s cars will join those of the GATEway driverless car project, which confirmed earlier this month that they will soon begin testing in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The project will use adapted pods previously in use at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and will be able to carry up to six passengers.
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