First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Driver shortage, commercially-viable roads and Brexit uncertainty position the UK to develop and benefit from autonomous freighting, says Inrix
. The analytics company's latest report
has identified the A1 from Sheffield to Edinburgh as the most suitable corridor for testing highly automated vehicles (HAV).
The Inrix Automated Freight Corridor Assessment reveals the next best-suited corridor is the M5/A38 from Plymouth to Birmingham, followed by the M4 from Swindon to Swansea.
Inrix believes a successful deployment of autonomous lorries could address the shortage of qualified HGV drivers in the UK and the uncertainty of freedom of movement after Brexit.
The company refers to a report by the Freight Transport Association, which confirmed a lack of 52,000 qualified HGV lorry operators in the UK during 2017, with 14% of the workforce consisting of EU nationals.
Avery Ash, autonomous vehicle market strategist at Inrix, says HAVs require smart planning to prevent them from clogging roads, increasing pollution and presenting safety issues.
“Fortunately, our data analysis shows that there are a range of roads in the UK that are both suitable and commercially viable for trial and initial deployment of autonomous freight vehicles,” Ash adds.
Inrix ranked the M6 from Manchester to Glasgow, stretching nearly 215 miles, as the most feasible route for commercial returns due to low congestion. It is followed by the A1 from Sheffield to Edinburgh and then by the M5/A38 from Plymouth to Birmingham.
According to Inrix, the M25 circling London is the top corridor which requires safety improvements due to its levels of dangerous slowdown incidents per mile. The M6 from Coventry to Manchester comes in at second place, followed by and the M5/A38 from Plymouth to Birmingham.