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Could platooning trials revolutionise trucking in the UK?

Helm UK is a UK HGV platooning project, commissioned in 2017 by the Department for Transport and Highways England.

The project involves a series of trials on UK roads which will help gather evidence on not just the safety implications of platooning, but on its real-world benefits too.


Platooning works by linking a series of trucks travelling along a motorway through the latest driving systems; operators can move large quantities of goods at consistent speeds, lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The vehicles in the platoon will accelerate and brake in sync through wireless technology. All lorries in the platoon will have a driver ready to take control at any time.


TRL (formerly known as Transport Research Laboratory), the lead partner on the project, is undertaking some research to quantify the economic benefits of platooning for freight companies. To help inform their research, they will be engaging with UK freight operators to gauge the likely level of adoption of platooning among operators and the key opportunities and limitations of different platooning models.


TRL is looking to interview freight operators that operate HGVs with box or curtain-side trailers and undertake a significant proportion of driving on motorways or primary A-roads (eg the A1 in North East England or A9 in Scotland). The interviews will start in September 2021 and will be up to an hour in duration.


While no prior knowledge or involvement in platooning is required ahead of the interview, TRL will provide interviewees some background information on platooning to help them assess the viability of the technology for their specific freight operation.

Roseline Walker, Technical Consultant for TRL, said: “By participating in this research, you will help contribute to the UK’s first ever platooning trial and will help identify the economic implications for HGV companies to operate platoons. This insight is essential to determine the business case for platooning and whether it can successfully be deployed on UK roads.”

If you think you meet the criteria mentioned above and would like to participate in the study, please email helmuk@trl.co.uk.


Published On: 09/09/2021 16:00:06


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