Driverless lorries

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In his Budget speech later this month, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm plans to trial driverless lorries in the UK, BBC News reports.

It is believed the trials would consist of platoons of up to 10 computer-controlled lorries which would drive metres apart.

AA president Edmund King expressed some reservations over the plan, saying: "The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world, therefore it's very difficult to have a 44 tonne 10-lorry platoon, because other vehicles need to get past the platoon to enter or exit the road."

When discussing where the trials could take place, King said the "only feasible place" would be the M6, north of Preston towards Scotland because it "tends to have less traffic and there are slightly fewer entrances and exits."

In October, Germany conducted a driverless lorry trial on a public road. The vehicle was developed by Daimler.

A "highway pilot" can be activated at the press of a button and it uses a radar and camera sensing system to avoid other road users. However, the manufacturer requires a human driver to be present and focused on the road at all times.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "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.

"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."

Do you think driverless HGVs could work in the UK?

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