Friday, 11 March 2016 GMT
Author: Staveley Head
As the testing of self-driving trucks on UK roads is announced we’re asking - how will this affect truck drivers, other road users and HGV insurance?
For technophobes new technologies can be a scary concept, especially when it comes to autonomous vehicles. But testing has proven that self-driving vehicles leave less room for human error - which is the cause of many UK road accidents.
The self-driving trucks tested in the UK will use a “highway pilot”. This will help avoid obstacles using a radar and camera sensing system.
If you prefer the human touch then you’ll be pleased to know the HGV’s won’t just be operated by technology; a human truck driver will always be on hand to take over.
What does this mean for truck drivers?
It’s not all doom and gloom, this new technology could assist truck drivers. For trampers it could be the end of long, tiring and stressful cross country drives. In general it is believed that the trucks will be much more efficient and cut emissions.
Although there is a catch - a qualified driver does have to be present at all times!
Initially the technology will simply assist truckers, making roads safer and deliveries more efficient. But in the long term it is not yet clear what the fate of truck drivers will be.
Pedestrians and Cyclists
The introduction of self-driving vehicles on UK roads should make places safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
As of November 2015 seven out of eight London cyclists’ deaths involved a truck. New technology should dramatically reduce the number of accidents caused by lorries. Especially as technology is not in a rush to be somewhere and is not pressured by other road users.
Driverless vehicles will park, brake, reverse and avoid obstacles – which eliminates any room for human error.
In turn this means your profession, age and driving history may play less of a part when determining your premiums.
But who will be liable in the event of an accident? Well, it could be the manufacturers as any accidents could be due to a glitch in the technology.
For now it would appear the pros of autonomous trucks outweigh the cons, so we could see much more testing in 2016.