Hermes is taking part in a trial to find out how other road users interact with an apparently driverless van, in order to discover if autonomous vehicles might help their business.

The two-week early stage trial involves a specially adapted Ford CV featuring sensors that mimic the look of an actual self-driving vehicle, while a ‘hidden’ Hermes driver controls the vehicle.

Hermes said the driver will play a passive role, simply driving the vehicle while ‘pedestrian couriers’ support the van, remotely unlocking it after it is parked up.

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It said the research vehicle should help it understand how its teams could work safely alongside a fully driverless vehicle in the future.

Lynsey Aston, Hermes head of product, innovation and onboarding, said: “We’re excited to collaborate with Ford on this proof of concept trial, which is all about understanding the potential for autonomous vehicles and if they have a role in delivery in the longer-term future.”