UK “well-placed” to lead global deployment of autonomous freighting
The global connected vehicle services and transport analytics company, the ITS (UK) member INRIX has identified corridors in the UK best suited for autonomous lorry trials and deployment.
The INRIX Automated Freight Corridor Assessment report, which also analyses Germany and the United States, concludes that a commercially viable road network, ongoing labour shortages and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, mean the UK is “well-positioned” to develop and benefit from Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV).
According to INRIX data and analysis, the most suitable corridors for autonomous freighting in the UK are the A1 between Sheffield and Edinburgh, the M5 and A38 between Plymouth and Birmingham and the M4 from Swindon to Swansea as well as the M25 around London.
The company says while automotive freight will need a HGV qualified operative behind the wheel in the short- to medium-term, successful deployment will eventually free drivers from long haul journeys across the UK’s least safe roads. This will likely see a shift to shorter routes in urban environments, fulfilling the “last-mile” of the supply chain.
Avery Ash, autonomous vehicle market strategist at INRIX, said, “Automated lorries are posed to transform freighting in the UK. Rising labour pressures, future emission regulations, and regulatory reform, make a powerful economic rationale for deployment in the near term. However, there is uncertainty where deployment is best-suited initial success. Without smart planning, HAVs could clog roads, increase pollution and even result in safety issues. Fortunately, our data analysis shows that there are a range of roads in the UK that are both suitable and commercially viable for trial and initial deployment of autonomous freight vehicles.”