The European safe road trains for the environment (SARTRE) project has successfully demonstrated a multivehicle platoon, Traffic Technology Today.com reported. The train included a truck driven by a professional driver in the lead position and three following cars controlled automatically without any real-time input from a human driver.
The vehicles traveled at speeds of up to 56 mph with no more than 20 ft of space between them.
SARTRE says “road trains” are a safer means of travel, because the leading vehicle is driven by a professional driver and the autonomous following vehicles can react much faster than human drivers. Because the vehicles travel closer together, they experience reduced wind drag, reduced fuel use and reduced pollution. SARTRE estimates the energy savings at nearly 20%. Tightly spaced platoons of vehicles would also increase the capacity of the roads.
SARTRE seeks to develop road-train technology that can be implemented on ordinary highways, where platoons of vehicles might share the road with nonautomated vehicles. The organization has the backing of seven European partners, according to Traffic Technology Today.com, including Ricardo UK Ltd.; Idiada and Robotiker-Tecnalia of Spain; Institut für Kraftfahrwesen Aachen of Germany; and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Volvo Car Corp. and Volvo Technology from Sweden.