The government has announced that driverless lorries will be trialled on UK roads in a bid to reduce the fuel used by heavy goods vehicles.
The Times reported that trials of the autonomous lorries will take place in Cumbria in the later part of 2016. The vehicles will run in a convoy on the M6, led by a lorry with a human driver.
The trials will be carried out on a quiet stretch of the motorway and will be aimed at reducing congestion and speeding up deliveries across the UK, as well as reducing fuel consumption.
"New technology has the potential to bring major improvements to journeys, and the UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and driverless vehicles,” a spokesperson from the Department for Transport told the BBC.
"We are planning trials of HGV platoons, which enable vehicles to move in a group so they use less fuel, and will be in a position to say more in due course."
Momentum behind driverless cars has accelerated in the UK since the government approved testing on public roads in February 2015.
The UK now has several autonomous vehicle test beds, including in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry. The vehicles with computer-controlled driverless systems vary from milk-float-like passenger shuttles to rugged jeeps.
UK carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is looking to make tracks with its efforts in autonomous systems, having revealed an aim to make driverless cars behave more like human drivers as part of a multi-million pound research project.
But while driverless car testing is speeding up in the UK, the Commons Transport Committee has warned that the government needs to address the practicalities of introducing autonomous vehicles in the UK, and to address safety, liability and licensing concerns.
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