Could driverless trucks resolve the HGV driver shortage issue?

Driverless vehicles of all kinds have been talked about for some time. As technological advances are made in all areas of our life the driverless phenomenon is something that could be a reality sooner than we think and none more so than in the HGV sector.

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As far back as 2016 the BBC reported that the UK would trial driverless HGV vehicles. However, many still feel that it would be difficult to manage in the UK because of the complexity of our road network. So why are driverless vehicles even being trialled, and what are some of the pitfalls?

Insufficient qualified HGV drivers

There is currently a real shortage of qualified HGV drivers, so much so that it is starting to impact on certain industry sectors, such as construction and minerals, and it seems that driverless HGV trucks could offer a solution to the shortage.

It’s also felt that convoys of driverless HGV vehicles, programmed to travel at certain speeds and with set distances between them will help to reduce haulage costs.

Much like a peloton in cycling, vehicles in a convoy would benefit from the slipstream created to naturally increase speed by reducing wind resistance.

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The pitfalls of driverless HGV vehicles

The vehicle insurance sector is already a complex market, hit in recent years with an onslaught of no fault compensation claims which have only served to push up the cost of insurance.

But HGV Insurance can be even more complex and expensive due to the size of vehicles, the high number of hours drivers spend at the wheel and the volume and value of loads. When you’re looking for quotes it’s worth looking for a provider that has experience in the HGV market such as So, how would the insurance industry go about covering driverless vehicles?

Unlike many other countries around the world the UK has a complex road system with many junctions and islands to navigate. It is a much smaller country than others, like America, so doesn’t have the same long stretches of road. These obstacles would potentially negate any of the perceived cost benefits of travelling in convoy so may make it untenable.

Many of the UK population are still uncomfortable with the concept of driverless vehicles too, so only time will tell if it becomes the norm.

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