According to a very reputable news provider, there are reports of George Osborne announcing funding for a special project during his next budget announcement.
The proposed project could see the testing of autonomous lorries in a convoy of up to 10 vehicles which would propel Britain to pole position when it comes to the adoption of autonomous vehicles on the worldwide leader boards.
Reports suggest that a portion of the M6 motorway close to Carlisle has already been earmarked as a possible testing ground due to its quieter traffic levels, this would allow a driver to lead a group of self-driving vehicles in a game of follow the leader without having to navigate a minefield of entry and exit points.
Daimler’s autonomous lorry has already been touted as the front runner for the testing as it already had successful trial using its vehicles on Germany’s autobahn as well as receiving the green light for testing in the US.
The Department of Transport has been on record to say the test “has the potential to bring significant improvements to journeys and the UK” while saving fuel in the process. More information on this will likely be revealed on the 16th of March when George Osborne makes an official announcement at the House of Commons.
Daimler’s previous tests in Germany used its Highway Pilot system and the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck which uses a short-range radar that assesses the vehicle’s surroundings up to70m away in a forward-facing 130-degree arc while a long-range unit scans out to 250m in an 18-degree arc.
These radars work together with Active Cruise Control and Active Brake Assist, along with a stereo camera that identifies road markings and guides steering which fundamentally results in the vehicle being able to navigate traffic and assess vehicle movement while observing and complying with road signals.
The Highway Pilot system has been likened to an airplane autopilot system which means it’s not entirely autonomous, but more of aid to the driver whereas the reports of George Osborne’s future announcement would involve the use of one of Daimler’s concept vehicles such as the Freight liner Inspiration.
Only time will tell, but should autonomous lorries start invading UK motorways it could make a huge difference in congestion throughout the country.