Christopher Whiteside MBE is the Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North & St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, most of Moor Row, the Western part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Chris is a former member of Copeland Borough council, and an Honorary Alderman of the City and District of St Albans.
Monday, March 07, 2016
Self Driving lorries to be tested on the M6 in Cumbria?
On a day when the M6 was closed or severely restricted for hours near Junction 36 because of an accident, comes news of a rumour - and there is no official confirmation - that this area of motorway is to be used to test convoys of "driverless" (actually self-driving) lorries.
During the tests all the lorries will in fact have a driver in the cab who can take over in emergencies.
A STRETCH of Cumbria’s M6 motorway looks set to become a test route for driverless lorries.
It is thought the vehicles could be tested in platoons on the M6 near Carlisle as part of the initiative, which Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm funding for in his Budget next week.
This proposed scheme would see the vehicles travel in a tightly-packed convoy designed to improve fuel consumption by reducing drag.
Steering, acceleration and braking of the road train would be controlled by a driver in the lead vehicle. The drones behind would have a driver in each cab as a safety precaution to regain control in the event of an emergency.
It is hoped this technology could improve road safety.
Paul Tatters, head of roads and transport policy for the AA, has issued warnings about the idea.
He said: “Convoys of driverless lorries and motorists will certainly be very nervous about the prospect and will need considerable reassurance that it will be safe.
“Motorways are pretty congested in the UK, they are about the most congested in Europe, and there will be problems in how they access and exit the roads.”
He fears a procession of driverless lorries would block slip roads, meaning they would have to use the offside lane.
“There are lots of logistical problems,” he added.
The Department for Transport have not confirmed the location of the test route or timetable and have not speculated on whether the research will receive funding in the Budget, although it said planning for trials was under way.
A spokeswoman 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.”