RHA casts doubt on platooning potential
That was the message from Road Haulage Association’s Rod McKenzie speaking to Nicky Campbell on yesterday’s Radio 5 Live breakfast show.
He said, ‘We’re not talking ghost trucks – there is still someone in the cab. The better explanation is that they’re on autopilot; it’s the same principal as that of a plane, making it fly straight and level. This concept is known as platooning. A line of trucks forms a convoy, travelling nose to tail with the lead driver controlling the rest of the vehicles behind.
‘However, our motorways are peppered with exit and entry points – causing queues for vehicles trying to join and leave the motorway will simply create even more congestion.
‘Of course the auto-pilot facility has the ability to remove human error and mistake – but what happens if the engine goes wrong?
The haulage industry is increasingly IT led and we embrace technology – but not at the expense of safety or practicality. The experts have it all to prove as far as we are concerned. All road users – not just transport operators have to be OK with this. We’re not there yet but we are talking to the truck manufacturers and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and are following it all with keen interest and a healthy dose of caution.’
He concluded, ‘Seldom has the phrase ‘the devil lies in the detail’ been more appropriate.’