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Nearly half of motorists support 'truck platooning'

Autonomous car dashboard displays

Nearly half of motorists surveyed by leasing firm Venson are in support of automated 'truck platooning'.

Trials were announced in last week's Budget by chancellor George Osborne, and involve fleets of commercial vehicles ‘digitally connecting’ so they follow one other at a set, close distance, using automated driving support systems. 43% of those surveyed were in support of the scheme.

Reported to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 10%, as well as making them safer and more efficient, trials are being funded government’s Intelligent Mobility Fund, which has £100 million to invest in a range of transport innovations; however, 30% of those surveyed think the funds could be better spent elsewhere, such as the NHS.

28% of motorists are excited about the future of driverless cars, saying that ‘progress is good’, but 30% of people Venson asked are concerned that the technology isn’t ready.

34% casted doubt on the likelihood of testing happening as soon as 2017, simply because the public themselves aren’t ready for driverless cars.  

“Overall, our survey shows that people feel positive about the future of the UK’s transport infrastructure and driverless cars, with many seeing the safety and environmental advantages that this new technology brings,” said Simon Staton, director of client management, at Venson Automotive Solutions.

“Interestingly 18% welcomed how driverless cars could benefit mobility for the disabled.  Naturally, people do have some concerns, which are mainly focused on the technology being ready, the hacking of technology and how data collected from driverless cars will be used by businesses and the government.” 

Staton added: “The investment in new technology to improve transport and logistics infrastructures across the UK should be welcomed, as should the government’s commitment to ensuring Britain plays a leading role in driving change that will be recognised globally.”

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  • bob the engineer - 23/03/2016 10:12

    Until some plonker in an Audi leaves making the exit to the last 100 metres, tries to cut between the trucks, spooks the autodrive into emergency stopping and half a dozen normal trucks behind them pile up. A human driver would evaluate risk, yell 'prat' and keep going. We already have a system for large cargo convoys that has non of the potential issues this does, its called a train.

  • Eric Bristow - 23/03/2016 10:27

    "nearly half" or just over a third!

  • Tim Williams - 23/03/2016 11:23

    So you're in a car cruising along on a two lane motorway, overtaking a convoy of platooning trucks. Behind you, you see a police car with blue lights on approaching and you need to get out of the way. Today most truck drivers will generally lift off to allow you to slot in to allow the police car past. will this still happen with platooning? What are the options for the car driver? Either hold the police car up, or put your foot down to get past the potentially mile long convoy of trucks until there is a safe gap. How much does the car driver trust that the police won't then do them for speeding? The issue of what happens around slip roads is also of concern (both getting off and onto the motorway? Can you tell I'm not overly convinced about this?

  • Buckets - 23/03/2016 12:58

    Many companies have pre-set limits on vehicle speeds, if one of them joins the platoon at say 56mph, this would reduce the platoon speed of all following trucks. Everyone saves a little fuel and the delivery scheduling software is no longer valid. This might cost just as much as a traffic jam. To travel at "normal speed" the drivers have to pull out of the platoon and make their own progress. Don't throw money at a problem that is not a problem just because someone can develop a solution.

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