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.

The News and Star reports here that

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.”


Jim said...

I know. Instead of having hundreds of driverless lorries on the M6, why not move them onto their own special "road", you could have the one at the front with a driver in it just in case of emergencies, and all the rest could just follow, really closely so they travel more efficiently. Oh now hang on a moment here, we could even spit the lorry line at some point, like say Birmingham, so the front 20 go to Glasgow, whilst the rear 20 with a new driver leader go to leeds.

Wow, I love my new invention here. I think I will call it a "Freight train"

Jim said...

And then we could have regional drop offs, like say carlisle, where 10 driverless lorries are stopped, and get get a new driver, this driver takes them along and drops one off at Wigton, and one at Workington and one at Whitehaven. which can then be lifted off the driverless lorry, split into consignments, and sent on little local lorries for final drop off.

And then again the little lorries pick up stuff to go, and then its loaded into the universal container, and placed on the driverless lorry, and the driver on the special road picks it up and takes it to carlisle, where, the new driver adds all five to his "freight train", and off it goes down south to Birmingham and meets up with the other "freight train" and they make a massive freight train which heads off down south.

Its brilliant. I just solved the UK motorway problem.

Jim said...

Oh, yeah, just thought about being a Hypocrite, with my answers to previous posts. No doubt some will think that.

well its not the case, and here is why.

you see I am not trying to solve a COMPLEX problem with a SIMPLE answer, that would be along the grounds of the Immigration issue. Also I am not trying to introduce driver less trucks onto the M6, which is solving a SIMPLE problem with a COMPLEX answer.

what I am doing is solving a SIMPLE problem, with a SIMPLE answer.