Convoys Of Autonomous Semi Trucks Are Already Invading Freeways


The scariest platoon of robots since SkyNet.

Following Germany's decision to put autonomous Daimler big rigs on the autobahn, the UK has just decided to allow convoys of driverless "lorries" (Brit talk for Semi-truck) to find their ways onto the M6 freeway. Up to ten of these autonomous trucks will follow a human-piloted truck only meters away from each other and be kept in place by laser sensors and infrared cameras. Like a flock of birds flying in a V formation, the trucks drive close to one another to save fuel by taking advantage of the lessened wind resistance.

One caveat to this convoy formation is that cars trying to enter and exit the highways will have trouble getting around such a long train of trucks, but Paul Watters, head of transport policy for the UK's automobile association, says that solving these challenges will provide insight into how to the future of transportation will look like. Despite the fuel and cost saving advantages to these autonomous trucks, it is still a scary prospect to think about ten trucks following each other closely and barreling down a highway at speed, especially since the world's first autonomous crash happened less than a month ago.

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