Connected vehicle services and transportation analytics provider INRIX has issued the list of top corridors in the UK that can be used for trails and deployment of self-driving lorries.

In its report titled ‘The INRIX Automated Freight Corridor Assessment’ the company highlighted that the UK is well-positioned to develop and benefit from highly automated vehicles (HAV) due to a commercially feasible road network, continuous labour shortages and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The study also analysed the suitability of Germany and the US for self-driving freight trials.

According to the study, the A1 corridor running from Sheffield to Edinburgh is the most suitable for autonomous freight in the UK, followed by the M5 A38 corridor from Plymouth to Birmingham.

The M4 corridor on the Swindon-Swansea route and the M25 London Orbital corridor were ranked third and fourth best for autonomous lorries. The M6 corridor running from Birmingham to Manchester was placed fifth in the list.

“Rising labour pressures, future emission regulations, and regulatory reform make a powerful economic rationale for deployment in the near term.”

The UK freight sector is a key part of the economy with the economic value of the industry growing by 4% from 2015 to 2016, according to the Department for Transport.

However, the country has a critical shortage of qualified Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) lorry operators.

There is a shortage of 52,000 drivers as of the second quarter of last year, with EU nationals offering considerable relief from a declining domestic labour pool.

Due to the uncertainty of the UK’s relationship with the EU and freedom of movement, HAV adoption will provide a safety net against a potential labour shortage.

INRIX autonomous vehicle market strategist Avery Ash said: “Automated lorries are posed to transform freighting in the UK. Rising labour pressures, future emission regulations, and regulatory reform make a powerful economic rationale for deployment in the near term. However, there is uncertainty where deployment is best-suited initial success.

“Without smart planning, HAVs could clog roads, increase pollution and even result in safety issues. Fortunately, our data analysis shows that there are a range of roads in the UK that are both suitable and commercially viable for trial and initial deployment of autonomous freight vehicles.”

In order to decide the best corridors for the deployment of autonomous lorries, INRIX Research used three key variables such as freight volume, congestion levels, and incidents rates.