The Department for Transport and Highways England are to fund HGV ‘platooning’ trials in the UK.
This comes after a government-funded feasibility study recommended a trial to examine the benefits and viability of platooning.
The £8.1 million trials will see up to three HGVs travelling in convoy, with braking and acceleration controlled by the lead vehicle. The tests will begin on major roads by the end of next year.
The trial is to be carried out by The Transport Research Laboratory.
“We are investing in technology that will improve people’s lives,” said transport minister Paul Maynard. “Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users thanks to lower emissions and less congestion.
“But first we must make sure the technology is safe and works well on our roads, and that’s why we are investing in these trials.”
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the government’s ambition for the UK to be a global leader for innovation.
“The trial has the potential to demonstrate how greater automation of vehicles – in this instance, HGVs – can deliver improvements in safety, better journeys for road users and reduction in vehicle emissions.
“Investing in this research shows we care about those using our roads, the
economy and the environment, and safety will be integral as we take forward
this work with TRL.”
The tests will involve three phases; the first will focus on the potential for platooning on the UK’s major roads.