Written evidence submitted by Logistics UK (SDV0006)


About Logistics UK

Logistics UK is one of Britain’s largest business groups and the only one providing a voice for the entirety of the UK’s logistics sector. Our role, on behalf of over 19,000 members, is to enhance the safety, efficiency and sustainability of freight movement throughout the supply chain, across all transport modes. Logistics UK members operate over 200,000 goods vehicles - almost half the UK fleet - and some one million liveried vans. In addition, they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight.


Logistics UK welcomes the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into self-driving vehicles. Connected and automated technologies, including autonomous vehicles, have the potential to significantly transform the way the logistics industry operates. Through Logistics UK’s Innovation Working Group, which is made up of a range of member operators, we have explored the potential benefits of autonomous vehicles and other connected and automated technologies.



Logistics UK members will be buyers of connected and automated technologies, so our focus is on the development of the right technologies that can support logistics operations become more flexible and resilient, optimising efficiency and helping logistics be recognised for its value, with minimal impact on the natural and built environment.


Logistics UK welcomes the Government’s forward thinking around the regulatory environment to support connected and automated technology, which should help support its development and adoption in the UK. The work of Zenzic and the UK testbeds are also helping to support innovation, testing and the development of connected and automated mobility.


The potential benefits of autonomous commercial vehicles

Logistics UK’s Innovation Working Group has examined the different connected and automated technologies that could be beneficial to the logistics industry. Vehicle automation was identified by members as of most significant interest due to the benefits that could be delivered by this technology.

Each degree of vehicle autonomy could offer a range of benefits for the logistics industry, which would increase and develop over time. For example:


Wider benefits to Government and society

In addition to the benefits for logistics operators, Logistics UK’s Innovation Working Group explored the wider benefits that could result from investment in autonomous commercial vehicles and identified the potential for:

        Safer roads resulting in fewer killed and seriously injured, reducing the impact on the NHS.

        Reduced return journeys to accommodate driver rest periods meaning less road damage from commercial vehicles and a reduced need for road infrastructure spending. This could also reduce the need for commercial vehicle parking.

        Less congestion resulting in reduced emissions and improved air quality.


The UK driving connected and automated mobility developments could also result in increased investment and business for UK plc.


Use cases for commercial vehicles

Logistics UK has explored possible use cases for autonomous commercial vehicles with members of our Innovation Working Group. Some that were highlighted as possible areas where they could be utilised most effectively included:


While the job of a driver could be removed for some commercial vehicle types and use cases, for others the role of driver may change to being operatives employed in other activities related to the vehicle. This may particularly be the case for members involved in home deliveries, due to the customer service this offers.


Barriers to deployment

The deployment of connected and automated technologies in logistics will be dependent on there being clear business cases that could be agreed at Board level, to make the case for business investment. Barriers that have been identified by our members are as follows:


Government intervention

Logistics UK has identified the following interventions that Government could provide to help reduce or remove these barriers:



August 2022