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London remains UK's 'burglary capital' survey reveals

Residents in the London Borough of Redbridge are living in the area most afflicted by burglary, according to the newly collated data, while those living in David Cameron's old Witney constituency are among the safest.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 3:08 am

Energy bills fall as billions 'green cap' subsidies axed

Ministers have unveiled plans to slash green subsidies. As part of Theresa May's new industrial strategy, were plans to cancel billions of pounds in subsidies given to wind and solar energy.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:47 am

'Row' over Kate Middleton attending BAFTA ceremony

It is understood sources within Bafta are uneasy about the Duchess of Cambridge attending the London awards ceremony over fears she may 'outshine' A-list stars.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:43 am

BBC Horizon reveals secrets of haircare TV adverts

Last night a BBC Horizon documentary sought to answer the question many frustrated consumers have long been asking – why doesn’t my hair look as perfect as that of the models on TV adverts?
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:26 am

GP surgery blocked pensioner's car to 'teach him a lesson'

Rebecca Hossain claims her father Mohammed was left 'shivering in the cold' and very upset after the parking row with Dr Gill Edmondson at Chorlton Health Centre in Manchester.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:26 am

FSA says baby food and biscuits are linked to cancer

The Food Standards Agency said famous UK brands including Hovis and McVitie's have products that contain raised levels of a chemical linked to cancer.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:12 am

QUENTIN LETTS on Richard Branson's Brexit-busting plans

Business tycoon Sir Richard Branson is pushing his snout back into the Brexit debate and is bankrolling a campaign for a second EU referendum.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:07 am

Bond director Sam Mendes marries fiancée Alison Balsom

Director Sam Mendes, 51, married his glamorous musician fiancée Alison Balsom, 38, at a register office before holding a blessing at a church in Great Tew, Oxfordshire.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:05 am

Strictly too young to be 'comedy old bag'

Ex-Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc says she is too young to be Strictly Come Dancing's "comedy old bag".
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:04 am

KPMG facing probe over Rolls-Royce bribery revelation

KPMG was the auditor for Rolls-Royce during almost all of the 24-year period in which employees secretly paid off middlemen and officials in 11 developing countries to win lucrative business.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:02 am

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN on Prince Charles and climate change

The Prince of Wales has co-written a book on climate change and now wants all TV weather forecasts to include warnings about the effects of global warming, writes RICHARD LITTLEJOHN.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:01 am

Dating fraudsters steal £40million from victims in year

Ruthless overseas criminals posing as suitors targeted almost 4,000 wealthy Britons in so-called 'romance frauds'. Victims handed over nearly £40million to fraudsters last year.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:01 am

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: A day of judgment for Mrs May's UK

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: In the last week, Theresa May has set out in hugely significant detail two policies on which the success or failure of her administration will largely be judged.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:00 am

Women lose mental sharpness in their 50s research says

US researchers have found that the female mind loses up to five per cent of its sharpness between the ages of 50 and 60, with a marked decline in processing speed and verbal memory.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:57 am

The over-18s who still get pocket money

The findings indicated that the 'boomerang generation' of British adult children who do not leave the family home is relying on the support of parents for more than a place to live.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:57 am

CRAIG BROWN adds some new words to the momictionary

Victoria Beckham, Carole Middleton and Kris Jenner have all been described as 'momagers', mums who manager their children's careers. CRAIG BROWN suggests some other words they may need.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:56 am

GCSE revision guides from exam board littered with errors 

One thousand copies of two revision guides aimed at teenagers taking their maths GCSE with Welsh exam board WJEC have had to be destroyed and refunds offered after 90 mistakes were found.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:56 am

PM Theresa May did know about Trident failure

Theresa May last night faced fresh accusations of a cover-up over the Trident nuclear weapons system as American officials confirmed that a missile test ended in failure.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:51 am

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS pays tribute to Gordon Kaye

Despite being racked with self-doubt in real life, Gorden Kaye shone as the hilarious French womaniser Rene Artois in hit BBC comedy 'Allo 'Allo, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:39 am

Scientists discover tumours create their own fuel

A study published in the journal Nature Genetics shows that drugs to starve breast cancer tumours of hormones fail because cancer growths create their own supply through extra copies of genes.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:14 am

Many parents let children lie about their age online

A survey by insurance firm Aviva found 60 per cent of parents with children aged 10 to 15 would let them pretend to be older than they actually are to get around age restrictions on social media sites.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:12 am

Rail bosses refuse to shut down Eurostar loophole

Eurostar passengers are still able to board Britain-bound trains without showing their passport despite the Daily Mail exposing a shocking loophole that can be exploited by terrorists.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:11 am

Newspaper headlines: Trident 'cover-up' and food cancer risk

Fall-out from the reported malfunction of a Trident missile test continues to lead a number of papers, while the cancer risk of certain foods is among the other stories to appear.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:05 am

QUENTIN LETTS watches Commons discuss the Trident misfire

Yesterday the Commons discussed a Trident mis-fire from the Royal Navy nuclear submarine Vengeance. Not that it was a mis-fire. Everything was absolutely in order, writes QUENTIN LETTS.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:00 am

Bernie Ecclestone's reign as F1 chief ends

JONATHAN MCEVOY: He walked into one of the rooms in his Knightsbridge offices in late evening, linked up with the sport’s new American owners Liberty Media, and his reign was over.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:00 am

‘Irresponsible’ father walks on frozen lake

A father put his life the the toddler he was carrying in serious danger after standing on a frozen lake at Whitlingham Broad, near Norwich. Witnesses said they have 'never seen anything more stupid'
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:59 am

Worst speeding drivers will be fined 150 per cent of pay

Under the new rules, a motorist on an average salary of £28,000 would be fined around £800 for more serious speeding offences as opposed to around £540 now.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:56 am

NHS offers paramedics a £10,000 bonus to tackle 999 crisis

Ambulance trusts across the country are offering paramedics sign-on bonuses of up to £10,000 in a desperate attempt to fill gaping vacancy lists - including 'golden hellos' and relocation expenses.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:52 am

Trump's trade boost for Britain before May visits US

Donald Trump last night pledged to build an even closer relationship between the US and Britain in a significant boost for Theresa May after he ripped up the Trans Pacific trade agreement.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:51 am

Labour's plot to sabotage Commons vote on Brexit

Labour will demand Parliament have the right to 'scupper' any deal Theresa May secures from Brussels over Brexit if the Supreme Court rules the process needs Parliamentary approval.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:44 am

1 in 8 adults in UK unaware they have high blood pressure

Some 5.5 million people, or one in eight people, are unaware they are living with high blood pressure. The condition has no symptoms but can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:29 am

ISIS reveals its first bombing drone

The Islamic State has unveiled its latest unmanned bombing drone. The terror group showed off its latest weapon in propaganda video filmed in Mosul, Iraq.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:28 am

Hornchurch explosion: Firefighters battle blaze at flats

More than 70 firefighters tackled a blaze in Hornchurch, east London, after an explosion at a block of flats allegedly caused after gas cannisters caught fire in a 'cannabis factory'.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:27 am

EastEnders fans express shock after devastating bus crash

Monday night's episode of EastEnders proved to be shocking for viewers, as they watched a bus crash rock Albert Square and potentially hurt a number of characters.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:19 am

Speeding fines to rise for most serious cases - Sentencing Council

Sentencing guidelines for speeding, animal cruelty and TV licence evasion are changed.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:10 am

Stonehenge tunnel excavation sparks 'done deal' fears

Diggers are spotted at the proposed site of a controversial tunnel near Stonehenge.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:08 am

Three puppies are pulled from devastation of Italian hotel

The month-old Abruzzo sheepdogs were trapped inside Hotel Rigopiano, which was pulverised by 60-000 tonnes of snow on Wednesday following earthquakes in central Italy.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:06 am

Flood prevention being ignored - MPs

Ministers should do more to prevent flooding, says a Commons committee report.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:06 am

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling buys £3.1m new home

The luxury five-acre pad, complete with its own wildlife pond, is in a leafy Cheshire village that will provide a rural base for the England star, long-term girlfriend Paige Milian and their newborn son Thiago.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:03 am

Banks face mental health challenge

Banks must offer simple account options to help those with mental health conditions, a think tank says.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:02 am

Brexit: Supreme Court to announce judgement

The government will learn later whether it has to give MPs a vote before starting Brexit talks.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:00 am

Amir Khan's father hits back at his wife's sex tape claim

Sajjad Khan said the video had 'absolutely not' been released by an angry ex-employee, after his daughter-in-law Faryal Makhdoom claimed it was posted online out of revenge.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:50 pm

Icelandic woman, 20, missing for 8 days is found dead

Birna Brjansdottir, 20, was found dead on a beach south of Reykjavik on Sunday, more than a week after her disappearance on January 14 after a night of drinking in Reykjavik's bars.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:37 pm

'Allo 'Allo! star Gorden Kaye dies at 75

Gorden Kaye, best known for playing Rene Artois in the long-running BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, has died aged 75.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:35 pm

Teenager stabbed to death in Willesden street

Teenager dies in hospital after being stabbed in north-west London.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:07 pm

11-year-old Indian girl gang-raped by 7 underage boys

An 11-year-old girl from the Indian village of Mawten was gang-raped by seven other children in two separate attacks. The two attacks took place in December 2016 and in January this year.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:01 pm

Joshua McCormack's funeral led by Darth Vader in Whitworth

Joshua McCormack's funeral cortege was led by Darth Vader and stormtroopers in his home town of Whitworth, Rochdale, ahead of a church service.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:59 pm

Trident: Defence Secretary refuses to give test missile details

Defence secretary refuses to tell MPs whether a missile veered off course during a test in June.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:46 pm

Premature babies benefit from compact MRI scanner

Doctors in Sheffield are pioneering the use of a compact neonatal MRI scanner, one of only two in the world.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:43 pm

WeNeed1 student offered £5m for a money-saving website

Mohammed Ali, , from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, who launched his first company aged 12, has earned more than £40,000 after creating his own video game and a financial app for the stock market.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:38 pm

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

The government is expected to confirm that so called, ‘driverless’ trucks will be trialed in the UK.  Generally met with shock and condemnation, what is actually being proposed?

The correct term for the proposed system to be trialled is not ‘driverless trucks’, but ‘platooning’. This is where a series of vehicles use technology to enable drivers to move more closely to each other in convoy than would be safe if he or she were not using them. The UK government has agreed to a limited trial of platooning on a stretch of the M6 in Cumbria, a portion of UK motorway that is relatively quiet with larger sections between junctions.

There is clearly plenty of concern from road safety campaigners and industry bodies concerned for the long term future of lorry driver jobs.

The RAC’s chief engineer, David Bizley said, “One of the main questions is really whether lorry platoons are appropriate for our motorway network, which is why the choice of the M6 in Cumbria for the trials is a good one because the junctions are few and far between and the traffic density is low compared with most stretches of motorway. So while this is a potentially welcome extension to the driverless technology we are seeing trialled in cars, it’s not clear yet whether it is something that would work in practice on the UK’s motorway network.”


Platooning is nothing new – research into these systems started back in 2009 with EU funding – with the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project. The project tested combinations of cars, coaches and trucks and resulted in some significant fuel savings across the board between ten and twenty percent.

The first public road test took place back in 2012 in Spain involving three cars and a truck with a gap of 18 feet between each vehicle at a speed of 85 km/h, covering some 200 kilometres.

Since this time, platooning has been trialled in Sweden, Germany and in the United States. Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett commented: “At the outset, it is important to note that these trucks will not be ‘driverless’. Each cab will be manned. As far as we are concerned, this is an issue where the devil lies in the detail.”

Fuel Saving not Driver Saving

There has been plenty of scaremongering in the press that this will be the end of the long-distance lorry driver as we know it.   The platooning system very much needs the driver to be in control, he needs to be able to join and exit the system to continue the journey and deliver the load.  Platooning saves Fuel

The most likely outcome of the test is a significant improvement in fuel consumption or not only vehicles following in the platoon, but also of the lead vehicle.  Additionally, traffic flow should be smoother when sufficient numbers of vehicles are included.

Tests by Scania have shown that convoy driving using truck “platoons” can reduce fuel consumption by up to 12%.  This could mean a fuel saving per vehicle of some 4,000 litres annually.  This would be able to power a typical family car some 35,000 miles.

“On the test track we’ve driven with a distance of about 10 metres between the vehicles, and we were able to achieve a 12% fuel saving for the trailing vehicle,” says Magnus Adolfson, Scania’s Manager for Intelligent Transport Systems. “If you want to get as close as a couple of metres, then you need several automatic systems that also take control of the steering from the driver during the time that the vehicle is in the truck platoon. That’s also something we’re focusing our research on.”

How Does it Work?

The platooning system uses a combination of existing technologies that have been tweaked to make the system as safe and effective as possible.

Sophisticated Cruise Control

Effectively, the system uses an improved ‘advanced adaptive cruise control’ (ACC), a system that we have enjoyed using on cars for many years now.  Rather than setting a desired speed, the driver selects a desired distance from the vehicle in front which is maintained through the use of radar and cameras.

Driver Aids – Autonomous Braking

Legislation that came into force as recently as November 2015 compels all new trucks over 8 tonnes GVW to be fitted with ‘Autonomous Emergency Braking’ systems – AEB for short.  This means that the driver is taken out of the equation if an accident is likely.

These systems have been fitted to trucks (as an option) for a number of years.  They have clearly proven themselves so effective in stopping the vehicle that they have made their way into legislation.

So we have been able to automatically keep our distance from the moving truck in front and automatically come to an emergency stop for some years.  So what’s new?

Steering by Wire

Volvo Truck (well) controlled by a small hamster

Truck steering systems have become more sophisticated with steering columns becoming a thing of the past with ‘drive by wire’ control. These systems have been wonderfully demonstrated by Volvo Trucks in a series of YouTube videos – one involving a hamster steering a truck by running around a wheel attached to the steering wheel and the second showing a small girl controlling a 32 tonne truck using a remote controller.

Volvo (badly) controlled remotely by 4-year old

Technology that steers trucks using electrical inputs is therefore mainstream and used on our roads every day.

Making it Work

Even if platooning can be made to work technically – safely and reliably – it is of no use unless a system is developed to ‘book a vehicle’ into the convoy.  Simply stumbling across a platoon and tagging along cannot be an option. RHA’s Richard Burnett agrees, “In addition to the concerns of the motorist, is platooning practical for the haulier? Does it make operational sense?” The truck makers are already looking at this. To develop a system to coordinate platoons, Sweden’s Scania is focusing on its COMPANION joint research project with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The next stage of development involves coordinating truck convoys, thereby making the whole logistics system more efficient. Scania’s researchers are designing a system that allows transport managers to input the routes their vehicles will take, with the system then finding joint routes with other operators who can ‘platoon up’.

An additional issue is related to the length of these platoons and how it might affect other road users.  The maximum length of a tractor unit and trailer combination is currently 16.5 metres in the UK.  Add an extra ten metre gap between a platoon of ten vehicles and you get something that is more than a quarter of a kilometre long.  Would the average UK motorist be able to contend with this moving obstruction when turning off a motorway junction? We have all seen most drivers leaving it to the last minute to turn off after accelerating past slower traffic.  This may therefore lead to platooning in the centre lane or lane three.  Not a popular alternative with car drivers.

UK Leading The Way?

The Department for Transport claims that it would like the UK to ‘lead the way’ in testing platoons.  It is difficult to see this happening when all the manufacturers are based in Sweden, (Volvo, Scania), Germany, (Daimler, MAN), Italy, (Iveco) and France (Renault). However, eight new projects have recently been awarded £20 million in funding from the UK Government to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car technologies’. Some of this has been awarded to a consortium looking at tyre pressures and safety concerns – an area ignored in the projects to date.

Is the UK a suitable test bed? Our road network is amongst the world’s most congested with the greatest number of junctions.  It is more likely that the UK would be used in the final instance as a ‘stress test’ rather than involved in the fundamental testing process.  It is unlikely that the R&D departments will be upping sticks from Sweden and Germany to spend time in Cumbria.


The UK has the reputation in Europe for being ‘Tail-End Charlie’ in accepting and promoting environmental improvements in commercial vehicle technology.  Germany and others were offering significant financial incentives for truck operators to become early adopters of Euro 6 technologies (and the emissions standards that came before them), whilst the UK government offered a few hundred pounds incentive to invest in new technology, the cost of which ran into the tens of thousands.

Consider also, the levels of support from the relevant governments.  Historically, the UK government has been less than supportive of the UK road haulage industry and we see no reason why this approach should suddenly change.  The level of support from the Netherlands is already far greater than the UK – they have also authorised the testing of platooning on their roads and are actively promoting the system with impressive glossy brochures.

During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands will put together a European Truck Platooning Challenge. This will involve various brands of automated trucks driving in platoons. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Mrs. drs. M.H. Schultz van Haegen said, “The Netherlands now offers an international testing ground for innovative mobility. Applications for cars and trucks will be warmly welcomed.”

Time will tell if the UK truly gets behind this initiative or is simply paying lip service to a high-tech scheme that is bound to grab headlines.

What Next?

Daimler already have a truck that can actually drive itself.  Sven Ennerst, Head of Truck Product Engineering at Daimler is the man behind the Future Truck 2025 Mercedes-Benz program which takes platooning one step further.


In May last year, their Highway Pilot autonomous truck control system won approval for trials on public highways in a (Daimler) Freightliner truck in the US state of Nevada. Then in October 2015, the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg approved trials of Mercedes-Benz trucks with the Highway Pilot system on its autobahns.

Ennerst says, “We expect a change in the organisation of the freight forwarding industry. The driver will take over many of the traffic planner’s functions. He will become more of a transport manager than a driver, from our point of view.” “One thing is for sure – the Highway Pilot system is steering the vehicle by itself. It builds a picture around the truck, looking up to 250 metres ahead, so basically it can react and drive by itself.”

Ennerst is equally concerned about the fuel efficiency of the trucks, “We are fighting like hell for every tenth of one per cent in truck efficiency gains at present,” he says. “We expect a fuel economy improvement of up to five per cent with trucks like this, as a result of less acceleration and braking and less waiting in traffic.”

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