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Charlie Gard's parents give up fight to save their boy

The High Court had been due to hear two full days of evidence about whether the 11-month-old should be allowed to try experimental therapy or ‘die with dignity’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:08 pm

Charlie Gard's parents give up fight to save their boy

The High Court had been due to hear two full days of evidence about whether the 11-month-old should be allowed to try experimental therapy or ‘die with dignity’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:08 pm

Kent father in court charged with murdering daughter

Richard Kray, 63, appeared before magistrates on Monday charged with the murder of Olivia Kray (pictured), 19, who died after a serious assault at a caravan park in Herne Bay, Kent on Friday.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:07 pm

Man wielding a chainsaw goes on the rampage in Swiss town

Police in the town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, say they are hunting this 6ft 2ins man after he attacked the offices of a health insurance firm on Monday morning.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:06 pm

Indian Muslim teenager 'raped and murdered' in London

The body of Celine Dookhran, 19, was found inside a £1.5million home in south west London and a court heard the Indian Muslim was 'raped and murdered after she started seeing an Arab Muslim'.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:59 pm

Human blood found on toy car and sandal of Ben Needham

Kerry Needham said the discovery is evidence of a cover-up in the 1991 disappearance of her son (pictured), who was staying at his grandparents' farm on the Greek island of Kos.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:51 pm

Obdulia Sanchez arrested after live-streaming fatal crash

An 18-year-old woman has been arrested after drunkenly crashing her car and killing her 14-year-old sister in Los Banos, California a moment she live streamed to her Instagram account.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:14 pm

UK faces 'unprecedented' winter downpours

South-east England, the Midlands, East Anglia and north-east England met the threshold set for a high risk of extreme rainfall over the next decade, according to new report by the Met Office.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 1:42 pm

Kent schoolboy arrested on suspicion of terror offences 

A 16-year-old boy from Kent has been arrested at Stansted Airport on suspicion of terrorism offences, Thames Valley Police said.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 1:34 pm

England win World Cup after dramatic victory over India

PAUL NEWMAN AT LORD'S: When Anya Shrubsole was nine she stood in the Mound Stand at Lord’s and talked of playing here for England. Now, she is the hero who sealed the World Cup.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 12:20 pm

World Cup win means women's cricket is now seen as cool

NASSER HUSSAIN: What an advert for women’ s cricket that final was. And what a day for Anya Shrubsole and England. It came down to the fact that England handled the pressure better.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 12:12 pm

Family's anger over Dunkirk film uses fictional name

Members of Commander James Campbell Clouston's family are angered after a character based on their father who died at Dunkirk and was played by Kenneth Branagh had a fake name.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 11:40 am

Tour de France: Cyril Gautier proposes live on TV

Cyclist Cyril Gautier has had something on an uneventful Tour de France, but he made sure his name would be in Monday's papers after proposing to his girlfriend during the final stage.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:22 am

BBC wildlife producer shown in shocking road rage rant

Wildlife producer and director Fergus Beeley shocked a family on Saturday when he got out of his car on the M27 near Portsmouth, Hampshire and launched into an explosive rant.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:19 am

Walmart: 8 people found dead in San Antonio branch

A total of 38 were found in the truck, which didn't have a working air conditioning system despite blistering temperatures topping 100 degrees in San Antonio.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:18 am

German ISIS teenage bride had a baby with her in Mosul

Linda Wenzel surrendered to Iraqi forces last weekend after she was found screaming for help in a bombed out house in Mosul, a year after she vanished from Dresden, Germany.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:02 am

'Time bomb' alert for 1.9m on interest-only home loans

As many as 1.9million borrowers are paying off the interest on their home loans without making a dent in the capital, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:02 am

Pick-up truck driven at people in Manchester city centre

A man was struck during the incident, but it was not terror-related, police said.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:59 am

Girl, 8, killed by falling logs in Argyll forest

A 12-year-old girl was also injured and has been airlifted to hospital, police say.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:51 am

'ISIS fighters' shot dead in mass execution in Libya

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. Executioners can be seen walking up behind their targets before firing a spray of bullets from what look like semi-automatic assault rifles in Libya.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:47 am

The children expelled at five for swearing and punching

Tucked away in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, The Rosebery School takes children that other schools in the area don’t want — its sole aim being to tackle their behaviour.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:43 am

London commuters told not to travel to Waterloo

South West Trains said services across the whole of its network, including to and from London Waterloo, may be cancelled, delayed by up to 90 minutes or revised (Guildford pictured today).
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:42 am

Women's Rugby World Cup 2017: England XVs contracts will not be renewed

Contracts for England women's XVs squad will not be renewed after the forthcoming Rugby World Cup despite the side being defending champions.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:38 am

£10,000 reward for recovery of shotgun in Castlewood

Insurance executive Guy Hedger, 61, (pictured) died after at least two intruders entered his £1million home in Castlewood, Dorset, in the early hours of April 30 this year.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:30 am

Burnley baby has sepsis after 'crying in a different way'

Stu Bonsall, 45, from Burnley, Lancashire, is urging other parents to trust their instincts, even if they might 'look an idiot' for doing so. He said: 'I could so easily have done nothing'.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:27 am

More than 2,500 products 'have shrunk'

Consumers have been paying the same amount for thousands of products that have shrunk in size.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:15 am

Lover who sprayed fiance's van with graffiti forgives him

Roxy Lawrence, 25, of Cleethorpes, East Yorkshire, spray painted fiancé Ross Norman's white van with a litany of insults but has revealed the pair have made up and will still marry.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:12 am

High risk of 'unprecedented' winter downpours - Met Office

A new analysis suggests there's a greater chance of the heavy rain that led to extensive flooding in 2014.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 9:05 am

Jordan Spieth wins The Open at Royal Birkdale

DEREK LAWRENSON AT ROYAL BIRKDALE: The leaderboard tells us Spieth won by the same three-shot margin with which he began but goodness, this was far less simple than that.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:58 am

Ben Needham: Blood found on sandal and inside toy car

Police say the findings "corroborate" the theory Ben died in an accident involving heavy machinery.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:55 am

Rory McIlroy's Open surge came too late at Royal Birkdale

MIKE DICKSON AT ROYAL BIRKDALE: A mixed bag of an Open championship for Rory McIlroy, who had dressed for the occasion of Sunday’s final round like a liquorice allsort.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:49 am

Offers pour in for girl, 5, who was fined over lemonade 

Andre Spicer, a business school professor, let his daughter set up a lemonade stand at Victoria Park, east London, only for council jobsworths to slap the pair with a £150 fine.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:46 am

IMF downgrades UK and US growth forecasts

Lower activity in the first quarter of 2017 suggests both will underperform the global economy.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:45 am

Taxidermists work on animals at Grant Museum of Zoology

The Grant Museum of Zoology, at University College London, began repairing the animals last month, and these pictures show the painstakingly detailed work carried out.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:41 am

Puppy was abandoned twice by her owner in Chessington

The one-year-old brindle saluki was found tied up in a play park in Chessington, but escaped before the RSPCA arrived. She was later found tied up at a bus stop before being taken to safety.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:39 am

Alcohol minimum pricing appeal to be heard

The Scotch Whisky Association has appealed against plans to regulate the price of alcohol.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:20 am

Game-changer

The 2013 Women's World Cup barely registered with the public. England's glorious 2017 triumph could not be more different.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:15 am

David Davis leads the race to replace Theresa May

As Theresa May prepares to fly out of Britain for a three week summer holiday the Tory faithful are clear she should be allowed to return and get on with her job.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:14 am

Scottish girl dies trapped under log in Highlands

A 12-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital after paramedics were called to the village of Benderloch in north-west Scotland this afternoon. Police are investigating the tragedy.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:08 am

Ryanair warns of airline fares war this summer

The airline says it might cut fares as much as 9% on some routes as competition intensifies.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:04 am

Sarah Vine: Charles will by hurt by his sons' documentary

Prince William spoke with warmth about his mother Princess Diana ahead of a screening in Kensington Palace for an advanced screening of the documentary, writes SARAH VINE.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:02 am

Male eating disorders rise but Wales spends less than England

More men seek help but less cash is spent on services for both genders in Wales than England.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:02 am

Romanian drink-driver who killed woman in crash is jailed

Ion Rusu, 25, was more than twice the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his Peugeot 206 into a BMW convertible on 13 November 2016 in a crash that killed 25-year-old Mohini Arora.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 8:01 am

Doctor Who Christmas special: First look at Peter Capaldi's final outing

New trailer shows the Twelfth Doctor's final outing, as well as the return of Bill Potts.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:58 am

Prince George has a surname choice for school

The Prince, who celebrated his fourth birthday yesterday, will start join Thomas's in Battersea at the start of the academic term in September - and will need a surname for the register.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:57 am

The Queen arrives at Crathie Church in Balmoral

The monarch was spotted today making her way to Crathie Church for Sunday service, within spitting distance of her Balmoral Castle on Royal Deeside.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:57 am

Robert Hardman on Prince William embracing his destiny

Speaking openly about his mother is important, says Prince William, because it ‘reminds people of the person she was’. But, significantly, in doing so, he has been equally revealing about himself.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:56 am

Oxford station train operator forgets to open up

Dozens of commuters looked on in horror as the 7.43am service between Oxford and London passed through the station with them stuck outside due to a locked door at the station.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:54 am

Divorced couple remarry 28 years on at Brands Hatch

When they met at Brands Hatch racing circuit in 1979, it was love at first sight for Annette Wensley and Duncan Gray. The couple married two years later but did not speak for 20 years after divorcing.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:41 am

'Amazonian girls' get caked in mud for tug of war event

The fearsome team of seven dressed as Amazonian warrior princesses clashed with other intrepid competitors during the 'Mud Tug' - a staple of the Whitstable Oyster Festival, in Kent.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 7:41 am

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

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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