Autonomous Trucks Will Be Tested on Public Roads in the United Kingdom

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Photo: Beaulieu
UK’s Department of Transport has reportedly approved trials of self-driving trucks on public roads.
The new autonomous trucks will be tested in the form of convoys, which will be led by a human driver. The vehicles that drive themselves will follow the human-driven vehicle’s every movement, replicating them for precise road maneuvers.

Naturally, these trucks are capable of operating themselves without a hitch, but the central idea of the trials would be to make this type of vehicle work like a road train.

If the scientists succeed in developing a self-driving system for trucks, these vehicles could be grouped in convoys that will use the road like trains use the rails. As mentioned above, for enhanced safety, the leader of the group will be an advanced truck controlled by a human driver.

The latter will make all the decisions that autonomous-driving vehicles of today are not capable of yet. Meanwhile, the rest of the trucks will drive one behind the other following the imaginary lines drew by the leading car.

If they follow the main truck at a proper distance, one that’s shorter than the one considered safe for humans, they will benefit from an aerodynamic advantage and will reduce their fuel consumption. The latter is achieved by eliminating wasteful driving styles commonly associated with humans, as well as due to the decrease of required rest stops and other impediments in the performance of a truck driver.

According to The Times, the first trials will take place on the M6 motorway in the United Kingdom, near Carlisle. Up to ten self-driving trucks could be operated at a time by a road train led by a human driver. Eventually, the person could be reduced from this equation, but the current transport system still has to go for some years until self-driving technologies like these mentioned in this article will see the light of day in production form.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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