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Driverless Lorries to be Trialled in the UK

Most of the news we report on takes place in America, but the UK is very much in the self-driving mix now. According to Autoevolution, the UK’s Department of Transport has reportedly approved trials of self-driving trucks on public roads.

The self-driving trucks will operate in large convoys. There will be a human driver driving the truck that leads the convoy and the autonomous trucks behind will follow the lead trucks every movement, replicating them for precise road maneuvers.

The central idea to all this is that the trucks would operate like a kind of self-driving road train. The vehicles will be grouped in convoys and use the road like trains use rails. All this will only be possible of course if the research conducted in the UK is successful.

The reason there is a human driver leading the convoy is simple, he makes the decisions that autonomous vehicles are not yet capable of making for themselves. Self-driving vehicles are at the forefront of the tech industry, but lets not forget Google’s self-driving car incident last month, where the autonomous car decided not to give way to an oncoming bus.

Essentially the autonomous vehicles in the convoy will follow imaginary lines drawn by the leading car, with the hope of learning them and being able to replicate them in the future. There could be up to ten self-driving trucks in the convoy.

If the trials are successful, self-driving trucks promise a lot of benefits. They’ll be able to travel much closer than is considered safe for human drivers, making the whole convoy more aerodynamic and thus reducing fuel consumption.

The first trial may take place on the M6 motorway, near Carlisle. Right now a human driver is necessary to lead the convoy, but in the future he may be taken out of the equation, meaning soon all delivery companies may be replacing a human workforce with an automated one.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hyundai Begins Testing Self-Driving Cars in South Korea

  2. Pingback: Google's Eric Schmidt says self-driving cars could soon hit UK roads

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