The UK government has confirmed in its Budget 2016 that driverless lorries and cars will be scheduled for road trials. This is in line with the government’s aim for the UK to be "a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles."
“Lorry platooning” trials are planned, with driverless vehicles forming a convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry. Driverless cars will also begin road trials by 2017.
Companies such as Ford and Google have been testing autonomous cars in the United States, mostly in California.
However, there have been questions regarding the feasibility of a lorry platooning scheme on UK roads. Edmund King, president of roadside recovery firm AA Group
said, "The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world."
King mentioned the difficulty of having a 44-tonne, 10-lorry platoon on the road, due to other vehicles having to pass then entire platoon just to enter or exit the road.
The Budget also outlined several other technology points:
- A £15m "connected corridor" linking London and Dover with infrastructure to facilitate communication with autonomous and connected vehicles
- Testing comparative fuel signage on the M5 motorway between Bristol and Exeter to inform drivers about the best deals
- Developing a “5G” strategy by 2017 in anticipation of next-generation wireless communication
- A £1,000 tax-free allowance for online "micro-entrepreneurs", and a second £1,000 allowance will be available for people who rent out their home online