Following on from our article last month regarding Self-Drive Trucks, The Times has reported that George Osborne will be expected to announce funding for a project which will see a trial of self-drive trucks on UK motorways.
It is expected that a large section of the M6 will be utilised, and the most feasible section being the stretch of road between Preston & Scotland. This section of the M6 tends to be quieter and has fewer slip roads and exits from the carriageway.
How Will It Work?
Reading the reports currently available, it is likely that there will be around 10 HGV’s in a convoy, only a few feet apart to conserve fuel. It is not know yet whether all the vehicles will have a driver in each cab monitoring operations, or if only the leading truck will contain a driver leading the other vehicles behind.
UK roads have more entrances and exits than any others in Europe, so it is difficult to envisage how the platooning of trucks will work in the future on a daily basis, due to junctions being potentially blocked for a long period on time by the platoon, preventing other road uses being able to access the slip roads.
Although it’s not yet known which manufacturer will be tested as yet, it is highly likely to be Daimler’s autonomous truck. This vehicle has already been road tested on Germany’s Autobahn 8 and has also recently received the green light to test the Mercedes Benz Actros units on US roads.
The government is currently putting the final touches to stretches of smart roads in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover, Huawei and Vodafone have teamed up with a number of universities to trial various self-driving vehicle technologies, these include LTE, LTE-V, Wi-Fi, and DSRC.
Another infra-red camera based project in West Yorkshire monitors traffic levels and introduces variable speed limits depending on road conditions to help the flow of traffic.
Further information regarding smart roads are available on the Government website.
Lloyd’s of London have underwriters that will consider writing business in the self drive truck sector, which brokers can access via Compass UK, and other specialist Lloyd’s Brokers.
In the meantime, we still have plenty of competitive policies for your ‘hands on’ trucker, so feel free to call Coversure Ilkeston for a quotation on 01159303030, or use our ‘call back request’ form.