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Autonomous vehicles: will UK infrastructure be fit for logistics?
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 at 09:50
If anyone thought that autonomous vehicles were simply a fantasy, there is new evidence that the government is taking the development very seriously.
Self-driving cars could be on UK roads in the next decade. The way we use roads could change as a result. Vehicles could move in convoys, there may be no need for traffic lights, and lane directions could change depending on the time of day. The National Infrastructure Commission and Highways England have launched a funding competition for organisations to investigate the changes to roads and related infrastructure to “maximise the benefits of driverless and connected vehicle technologies.
And they have earmarked some £200,000 for the competition, which is seeking practical ideas on designing and managing roads in three areas:
* road design and related infrastructure including line markings, signs, posts, gantries, crash barriers and lighting columns
* traffic management such as traffic signals and any other means of controlling traffic flow
* road rules and regulations including such things as speed limits and waiting or loading restrictions
Clearly, these changes could have a significant impact on logistics operations – and not always in obvious ways, as the point about loading restrictions highlights.
So its worth asking the question now: in a world of autonomous vehicles will the UK’s transport infrastructure be fit for logistics operations? Clearly, the logistics industry needs to make its voice heard.