The Port of Felixstowe has introduced driverless trucks as part of a new one-of-a-kind initiative.

In what has been described as a ground-breaking move, the port is believed to be the first in Europe to introduce autonomous terminal tractor units (ATs) into mixed traffic container terminal operations.

The self-driving vehicles use a digital map which is loaded to a fleet management system that controls the navigation around the port.

The AT then combines that map with its on-board GPS navigation to track its real-time position.

Clemence Chang, chief executive officer at the port, said: "These new autonomous trucks represent a significant technological step forward.

"The tools underpinning port operations have evolved continuously but this is the first time we will have wholly driverless vehicles.

"The ATs have a range of built-in safety features which will allow them to navigate effectively and safely within our container terminals.”

The ATs have been through a thorough commissioning and testing programme.

They are to be used initially to transport containers between the port’s Trinity and North Rail terminals.

The first two battery-powered units to enter service at the UK’s largest container port have been supplied by manufacturer Westwell.