The government has announced that trials of driverless trucks in convoys of up to three vehicles, called platoons, are to start on UK motorways in 2018. With one driver in the lead vehicle, the other lorries in the fleet will be controlled by wireless technology, managing their speed and distance between each other. During the trial, although the trucks will be self-driving, there will be drivers in the cabs ready to take control if problems arise.
The lorries will drive close together with the lead vehicle effectively pushing the air out of the way, making the other trucks in the fleet more fuel efficient and reducing emissions.
Concerns have been raised that UK motorways are not suitable for the trial. Our roads are the most congested in Europe and, with a large number of entry and exit points, these convoys could make driving conditions more challenging for other drivers, who could find switching lanes or accessing the hard shoulder in an emergency more difficult. The Road Haulage Association have said that safety must come first.
We are talking to our insurer partners at the moment to understand the insurance implications for fleet businesses and will provide an update on this as soon as the situation becomes clearer.