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Driverless lorries set for Cumbria trial

Driverless lorries are set to be tested on a stretch of the M6 in Cumbria Photo: Press Association

Driverless lorries are set to be tested on a stretch of the M6 in Cumbria as part of a government bid to improve to journeys.

According to reports, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm funding for the initiative in his Budget next week with the M6 near Carlisle being used as a test location.

This proposed scheme would see the vehicles travel in a tightly-packed convoy designed to improve fuel consumption by reducing drag.

Steering, acceleration and braking of the road train will be controlled by a driver in the lead vehicle although the drones will have a driver in each cab as a safety precaution to regain control in the event of an emergency.

There are hopes that the technology could one day improve road safety.<

The DfT could not confirm the location of the test route or timetable and would not speculate on whether the research will receive funding in the Budget, although it said planning for trials was under way.

“New technology has the potential to bring major improvements to journeys and the UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and driverless vehicles. “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.”

– Department for Transport spokesperson