Driverless lorry trials expected on M6 this year
9th March, 2016

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce trials of driverless lorries on the M6 in his Budget next week.

The Times is reporting the trials are expected to take place later in the year on the motorway between Cumbria and Scotland, with vehicles travelling in convoy with a 'lead truck' operated by driver. Up to 10 vehicles at a time are expected to travel in the group, driving in close proximity to each other.

A Department for Transport spokesman 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."

AA President Edmund King added that the M6 is likely the only suitable stretch for trials, due to the nature of UK motorways.

He said: "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, and 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."

A report published last year by AXA suggested driverless trucks could deliver nearly £34bn of savings.