Slow uptake of autonomous vehicles for freight could leave the UK ‘lagging behind other countries and missing the opportunity to reap the benefits of being a market leader in this technology’, according to a report by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the UK Cross River Partnership.
The report ‘Impact of Autonomous Freight Vehicles in Central London‘, stresses that ‘Government investment is required in the development and testing of new technologies, specifically freight and logistics,’ and that logistics operators need to be supported by Transport for London funding to push for an uptake of autonomous freight vehicles.
Using autonomous vehicles for deliveries and servicing can improve the efficiency of logistics operations. Deliveries can be optimised to find the quickest route in real-time, the vehicles will not need to stop to rest and can safely adjust to the surrounding environment in to safely travel at the highest possible speed.
Barriers include the cost of investing in the technology and infrastructure, the lack of existing policy to safeguard accountability, issues of cyber security and questions regarding public space in cities.