The SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) has recently completed the first successful test demonstration of a multiple vehicle platoon, with Volvo Car Corporation as the only participating car manufacturer. The test fleet included a lead truck followed by three cars driven entirely autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph), with no more than a 6-meter (20-foot) gap between the vehicles.
The benefit of car platoons is that cars behind the lead car can save 30-60 on fuel usage, there is potential for increased traffic without traffic jams.
Platooned cars would be the quickest way and lowest infrastructure method to rapidly enable
* partial hands free automated driving
* enable the fastest fuel savings using software and sensors
* enable more traffic on roads and highways while increasing speed with computers and software into existing cars without building more roads (most economical method)
Recognizing that the challenge of implementing road train technology on Europe’s highways is not solely a technical matter, SARTRE also includes a major study to identify what infrastructure changes will be needed for vehicle platooning to become a reality. A number of stakeholder discussions will therefore be held.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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