A self-driving dumper truck is being used in the UK

A self-driving dumper truck is being used in the UK to help speed up roadworks on the nation's motorways The vehicle weighs 25 tonnes and can carry up to 40 tonnes of dirt   It uses tech designed for Australian mine trucks to navigate itself   It is being tested off the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon

By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline

Published: 09:46 BST, 3 May 2019 | Updated: 19:32 BST, 3 May 2019

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A 25-tonne self-driving truck is hitting British roads in a bid to speed up time-consuming roadworks plaguing the nation's highways.   

The vehicle can carry a 40-tonne load and has been fitted with gadgets originally developed for autonomous trucks in Australian mines. 

It is being tested off the A14 in Cambridgeshire where work is under way to upgrade a 21-mile (34km) stretch of the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon. 

The vehicle can carry a 40-tonne load and has been fitted with gadgets originally developed for autonomous trucks in Australian mines, including a laser light unit to spot objects in its way

The vehicle can carry a 40-tonne load and has been fitted with gadgets originally developed for autonomous trucks in Australian mines, including a laser light unit to spot objects in its way

It is hoped that autonomous trucks could be developed to operate round the clock, meaning work is finished faster. 

Dumper trucks are used to move excavated earth, with around 10 million cubic metres moved by 200 dumper trucks during the A14 upgrade. 

Julian Lamb, deputy project director on behalf of Highways England for the A14, said that a shortage of drivers prompted the trial. 

'It's not to replace drivers but it's to be able to respond to the capacity that we will need,' he said. 

He added that there was 'no reason why autonomous vehicles couldn't work 24 hours per day' and that the technology could make sites safer for workers by keeping people away from machines. 

The roof of the truck is fitted with a GPS tracker, WiFi receiver and laser light unit. When switched to autonomous mode it is controlled by computers, with the steering wheel motionless as it rounds corners. 

Fiona McDonald, project manager with Highways England, said she hoped the technology could be 'fast-tracked' into use as safety regulations have been developed in Australia where similar trucks are in use in mines. 

'We're not starting from scratch,' she said. 'This stuff's been done before.' 

However she said it would be the first time autonomous trucks have been used in roadworks anywhere in the world.

Richard Austin, who works for earth moving subcontractor CA Blackwell, is from Australia and suggested using the technology for roadworks projects. 

It is hoped that autonomous trucks could be developed to operate round the clock, meaning work is finished faster. Dumper trucks are used to move excavated earth, with around 10 million cubic metres moved by 200 dumper trucks during the A14 upgrade

It is hoped that autonomous trucks could be developed to operate round the clock, meaning work is finished faster. Dumper trucks are used to move excavated earth, with around 10 million cubic metres moved by 200 dumper trucks during the A14 upgrade

He said the price of sensors has reduced due to investment by the automotive industry to automate cars, and some Australian mines are fully automated. 

There would be a 'hierarchy of

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