Truck platoons on

the march

Truck platoon trial

THE Road Haulage Association has reacted with caution to the announcement of trials for the "platooning" of trucks in Britain.

The term platooning describes a driving formation which decreases distances between trucks using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling.

This allows a number of trucks to accelerate or brake simultaneously. Grouping vehicles into platoons is a method of increasing the capacity of roads.

Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive, said: "When platooning trials eventually begin, they will be carried out off road and will only be trialled on the motorway network when proven off-road.

"On the plus side, this is a concept that certainly has benefits in terms of fuel saving; particularly in those countries that have long stretches of roads without junctions - unlike the UK motorway network.

"Today's UK haulage industry is increasingly IT-led. However, are UK roads and, more importantly, other road users ready for it?

"The technologists have it all to prove. A lot of the elements of this that make it theoretically possible are already starting to arrive in modern vehicles. But are motorists ready for the technological advances that will make this concept possible?

"In addition to the concerns of the motorist, is platooning practical for the haulier? Does it make operational sense and, critically, will it be safe practice on UK roads with so many junctions."

The Road Haulage Association will be working with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and will be following the trials with keen interest.

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