• fast moving traffic on a UK road at night

Summary

We successfully delivered a feasibility study for a UK road trial of autonomous platooning heavy vehicles. Our report predicts significant and practical benefits to road safety, capacity, congestion, CO2 efficiency and fuel economy and defines the aspects that require further information.

The Challenge

We can predict the benefits of platooning in theory. But to understand the practical implications and the interactions with existing infrastructure and other road users, we need an on road trial to provide objective assessment. There are significant risks with a trial on a public road, so we were asked to produce a feasibility study and specification recommending how a trial might be structured.

Our Approach

Working in partnership with Ricardo UK, Ricardo AEA and TTR, we produced a thorough specification outlining how a road trial could be designed and implemented. We conducted a technology review and ran targeted stakeholder meetings to identify and understand the main issues with a trial on a UK motorway. We also analysed the risks and the data that would be required for collection, and investigated the mitigating measures that could be put in place to run a successful trial

The Results

Our independent assessment provided the Department of Transport with a clear picture of how an autonomous platooning trial could operate for heavy vehicles, along with producing a number of technology roadmaps. The report also highlighted the longer term issues of wider implementation and identified areas that should be considered for further analysis and modelling.

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