The lead organisation overseeing the UK platooning trials has told that the project is “very much still alive”, despite progress stalling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) said the government remained committed to the trials and that desk-based research has continued during the pandemic.

We reported last week that the consortium behind the project had completed off-road trials and extensive safety testing and driver training, but that on-road trials scheduled for 2020 had been abandoned.

A TRL spokeswoman said: “The trials are very much still alive and the customers - Highways England and the Department for Transport - are 100% committed to seeing the trials completed, as are all the partners involved in delivery.

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“The trucks have been stationary during lockdown, but where possible, other elements of the desk-based research have continued quietly.”

The spokeswoman added: “The trucks will be made ready for the operational trial phase as soon as we are given the go ahead to do so by the customers.”

Meanwhile, it is understood that partners involved in a separate platooning trial that ended last year, including DB Schenker, MAN and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, are currently reviewing the trial’s data.

Reporting on the trial’s results in 2019, Alexander Doll, director of Deutsche Bahn, DB Schenker’s parent company, said the trial had demonstrated that platooning could be used extensively in the company’s logistics network.