It sounds sort of terrifying, doesn’t it? In his Budget speech this month, George Osborne is expected to confirm that driverless lorries will hit UK roads later this year. According to reports, they’ll be trialled on ‘a quiet stretch’ of the M6 in Cumbria.
If the tests go to plan, so-called ‘platoons’ (sort of like a conga line) of up to 10 computer-operated lorries would eventually race up and down and motorways, though a human driver would be sat in the front vehicle, because nobody actually has complete faith in autonomous systems.
A several-metre gap between vehicles would be maintained at all times, and the setup -- of which little is currently known -- should help us save fuel. Trying to access an exit road would be interesting, if you ever found yourself stuck on the wrong side of one of these things.
"New technology has the potential to bring major improvements to journeys and the UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and driverless vehicles,” said a Department for Transport spokesperson. "We are planning trials of HGV platoons -- which enable vehicles to move in a group so they use less fuel -- and will be in a position to say more in due course."