More than half (59%) of business drivers are supportive of a new system that would cut fuel consumption and allow them to travel down the motorway hands free on auto-pilot, according to research conducted by Lex Autolease.
The Road Train system, aimed at drivers who cover long distances for work, would link a pool of vehicles together using wireless sensors. The lead vehicle would be handled by a professional driver, who would monitor the status of the road train and control the cars within it. Those in following vehicles could take their hands off the wheel, read a book or even watch TV, while they travel along the motorway.
According to Lex Autolease’s survey, 58% of drivers would be happy in the knowledge that their vehicle would be under automatic control. Meanwhile, 56% said that they should be permitted to use a mobile phone if they are part of a road train.
However, 50% of those surveyed thought that the professional driving the lead vehicle in a road train should be held responsible if they had an accident.
Road trains came from an EU-financed research project is looking at inexpensive ways of getting vehicles to travel in a ‘platoon’ on Europe’s motorways, thereby cutting fuel consumption, journey times and congestion by linking vehicles together. Early work on the idea suggests that fuel consumption could be cut by 20% among those cars and trucks travelling behind the lead vehicle.
A statement from Lex Autolease said: “Initiatives to reduce business drivers’ fuel consumption and therefore the impact on their company’s bottom line should be welcomed, however with road trains currently being trialled, in the short-term there are a number of strategies that British businesses can adopt with a view to reducing their fleets fuel bill.
“Driver training and changes in driver behaviour has a significant impact on fuel consumption, thereby having a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.”
Read more on company cars