Could Self Driving Lorries Lead the Future of Haulage
The haulage industry has come a long way over the years. This isnt to forget the technology used today to keep fleets in check, such as fleet tracking systems such as Phantom. However, with this particular sector still witnessing significant growth, is there room for new, major developments?
According to the BBC, self-driving trucks may undergo rigorous tests next year to assess their potential on UK roads. Supporters of this move declare that this new approach would help to slice fuel consumption and associated costs. The concept behind driverless lorries is fairly straightforward; while the vehicle will still require a driver to take the wheel in case of emergencies, they will otherwise continue their travels.
On the roads, convoys will travel only a few feet in distance from each other. Despite high hopes for this move, it has been slated by several motoring groups who claim this kind of fleet operation would be intimidating to other road users. The BBC states: UK Ministers had visited Sweden to see the technology in action, and tests may be carried out next year. Opposing this, an announcement from the Department for Transport (DfT) claimed: No decision has been reached on a trial using this new technology.
However, road safety remains of paramount importance and will not be compromised. As mentioned by Phantom, the driver will still need to be present in the vehicle, in case they suddenly need to take control. All in all though, the proposal suggested that drivers will be able to relax in the truck. Lorries will be connected in order to communicate through Wi-Fi, and sensors will be installed so all manoeuvres can be closely monitored and assessed. Paul Watters, of the AA, commented: For the car user in particular, it does pose worries about platooning lorries taking up a lot of space and blocking others out.
However, he continued by saying the resolution for this issue could be an extra lane dedicated to lorry use only. Despite this, he, like many others, has doubts about driver activity if this new technology officially came onto the market. He stated: They are suggesting that an autonomous lorry driver can do other logistics work while they are driving. The thought of a lorry driver doing administration is, dare I say it, pie in the sky. This vehicle concept comes alongside plans to introduce tests for driverless cars in 2015 too.
However, the AA carried out research into the matter, only to find that 65% of people would prefer to continue driving as normal rather than allow a computer to take the wheel. They also found younger drivers appeared to be more open to the technology. What do you think about the concept of driverless lorries? Do you think this could benefit the haulage industry or would it cause more complications than it originally intended to resolve?