Britain will test self-driving lorries on the British roads by the end of the next year. The British government has given the contract to TRL or Transport Research Laboratory. TRL is going to conduct the tests.
Self-Driving Lorries to Travel in Platoons
It is a novel concept in which self-driving lorries will travel in platoons. By platoons, the transport industry intends to say, in groups. A maximum of three trucks will move in a formation. The leading truck will be controlling the braking and acceleration of the lorries behind. The lead vehicle’s human driver will wirelessly communicate with the rest of the self-driving lorries in the platoon.
What is the Purpose of Platooning?
The transport industry is looking for ways to save fuel costs. Plus, they argue that platooning would help reduce carbon footprint. The use of the platoon formation will let the vehicles drive close to each other. It’s hard for human drivers to maintain this formation due to the proximity of vehicles.
This formation will help reduce the air friction, thus cutting on traveling expenses. The advocates of this technology argue that it would make traveling a lot safer. Furthermore, it would let the lorries behind brake quickly. However, all the trucks will have human drivers to intervene should there arise a need.
Trials on Test Roads First
The trials are going to start on the test roads first. However, with the passage of time, the lorries will come onto the main roads. The typical road users may not see these trucks before the end of 2018.
Participants of the Self-Driving Lorry Trials
Since the contract is assigned, the trials are expected to go ahead as per the schedule. The partners of TRL in this self-driving lorries’ trial include the following.
DHL is a company based out of Germany that offers logistic services.
Ricardo is a smart tech firm from Great Britain.
DAF Trucks is a Dutch manufacturer of trucks.
AA’s Viewpoint on Self-Driving Lorries
AA, short for Automobile Association argues that the roads of Great Britain pose a unique challenge to the self-driving vehicles. The President of AA, Edmond King, claims that British roads are the busiest in Europe. Similarly, the trailing of lorries may make it difficult for drivers to see road signs. Therefore, he argues that it may work in freeways of Nevada and Arizona but not in the UK.
RAC Foundation’s Argument on Self-Driving Lorries
RAC Foundation or (Road Automobile Club Association) is a charity organization that studies safety, mobility, and economic issues relating to roads. The director of RAC states that transport companies can materialize fuel savings for long distance travels. However, it’s hard to say the congested traffic on British roads would make fuel savings possible for transport companies.