Driverless lorries are heading to the UK's motorways

Volvo truck
Is there a real driver behind the wheel?

Head out on the motorways of Britain later this year and you might come across a self-driving HGV convoy or two: Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce new trials of the technology in his upcoming budget speech, the BBC reports.

The M6 in Cumbria will be one of the test sites, with an automated "platoon" of lorries led by a front vehicle carrying an actual real human driver. Apparently, the trials are going to take place on quiet stretches of motorway.

The end goal is to cut congestion, government sources say. Up to 10 lorries could drive in tandem, using advanced mathematics and computer software to drive as efficiently and as close to each other as possible.

Rise of the robot vehicles

Driverless trucks have already been tested in various locations across the world, including the United States and Germany, and it appears Osborne doesn't want the UK to get left behind - the new scheme is believed to be part of a larger funding boost for self-driving technology.

Not everyone is convinced this is such a good idea: the AA's Edmund King told the BBC that the large number of exits and entrances on the UK motorway system made it impractical to have convoys of robot lorries clogging up the inside line.

"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," said a Department for Transport spokesman.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.