UK government allocates $10.4 million for truck platooning trial
The trial will have three phases, and will initially focus on the potential for truck platooning on the UK’s major roads.
The U.K. government confirmed it has allocated £8.1 million ($10.4 million) to carry out track platooning trials. Officials explained that the platoonin trials will see up to three trucks traveling in convoy with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle. All trucks in the platoon will always have a driver ready to take control at any time.
“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,” Transport minister Paul Maynard said.
The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) will carry out the truck platooning trial, with funding provided by the Department for Transport and Highways England. The initiative follows a government-funded feasibility study which recommended a trial to examine the benefits and viability of platooning.
“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,” Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England’s CEO, said. “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 trial will be carried out in three phases, with the first focusing on the potential for truck platooning on the UK’s major roads. The initial research will help decide details such as distance between vehicles and on which roads the tests could take place.
Trials are expected on major roads by the end of 2018. Each phase of the testing will only begin when there is robust evidence that it can be done safely, the government said.
The UK has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the world in trialing connected vehicle platoons in a real-world environment. TRL and its consortium of leading international partners, have the practical and technical knowledge gained from previous projects to understand what is required to put a connected vehicle platoon on to UK roads safely,” TRL’s CEO Rob Wallis, said.