UK on the road to a POC

Firstly, I’d like to take a moment and congratulate the Transport Minister, Paul Maynard.

Now, I’ve never met Paul, don’t know about his past (the work he did with the rail)… in fact, had to google him this morning to learn a little more about him – but one thing I do know is, he’s speaking the language and putting into place what we should be doing – and that is understanding, learning and exploring new technology.

In the news, it was announced that the UK will start to test Self-Driving Lorries (Trucks) next year.

To add a little more context to this – there will be a convoy of up to 3 lorries, with the lead lorry having control of acceleration and braking of all 3 lorries.

There will be a driver in the first lorry, who’ll be doing all the accelerating and braking, with the rear lorries mirroring this (though there will be someone to do the steering in the rear lorries – so the announcement says), but i’m sure, it’s a matter of time that the steering will also be mirrored.

Now, why did I take a moment to congratulate Mr. Maynard?

Because this is new technology – that’s having a POC in the UK.

What does POC stand for? – Apologies, I should have shared this earlier in the post – POC stands for Proof of Concept.

It’s when you have a new technology, idea, thought, anything new… and you want to understand, how will it work. It’s to prove that the concept you have, works (or not). Either way, it’s a great learning on what your idea is.

All companies who have ideas will run a POC  – mainly to understand and learn more about the idea.

All startups, innovation labs, incubators will encourage folk to do POC’s to really get more data. Data is then transformed into stories. Stories which you can then understand. Understand if your idea is working to how you want it to, or do you need to modify/change it.

You could also call it a ‘test’. We’re going to test and learn.

The key thing here is that we’re learning. We’re using technology, new technology and we’re learning.

And the UK Government are not doing it by themselves. They’re collaborating!! – did someone read my last blog post?!

And they have the ‘mix’ right! – they’re collaborating with a Truck Company (which makes sense as this is to do with Trucks), a Ricardo (which is a smart British tech firm) and a German logistics company (DHL). Look at that for diversity!

Now, with all ideas – there’ll be some folk coming out with comments and saying, it’s a terrible idea… don’t do it… etc…

I’m just going to highlight one. From the AA (Automobile Association founded in 1905).

The comment was along the lines of – with 3 lorries close to each other, other drivers will not be able to see some of the road signs.

Valid point, I thought at first. On the side of the road, we have signs indicating what the next junction off the motorway (highway) is… service stations, etc…

Then I thought… Why not just move them and have them at the top (like the picture below)

But this is the reason why you do a POC.

To learn. To figure out – hold on.. we might have an issue with something – then you can work on that and understand it further.

The important thing is the benefits. And there are benefits to this concept. With the first truck/lorry, pushing air out of the way, it makes the lorries more fuel efficient and lowering their emissions.

More fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs… which could result to lower cost of goods – now, who’d argue with that?