Vehicle technology reached a new milestone last week when an automatically driven road train comprising a Volvo XC60, V60, S60 and a truck was tested down 124 miles (200 kilometres) of Spanish motorway behind a professionally driven lead vehicle.
SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) - a project in partnership with Volvo Technology and Volvo Car Corporation - creates road trains by using a combination of existing Volvo safety systems such as cameras, radar and laser sensors in conjunction with wireless communication. These systems allow vehicles to effectively "mimic" a lead vehicle's movements and behaviours; meaning that the train accelerates, brakes and steers to match the leader.
"We've focused really hard on changing as little as possible in existing systems," said Linda Wahlstrom, project manager for the SARTRE project at Volvo Car Corporation. "It is really only the wireless network that sets them apart from cars in showrooms today."
The three-year SARTRE project began in 2009 with the aim of improving safety, congestion and environmental issues; as well as hoping to improve driver comfort over long distances. Early indications suggest fuel consumption can be reduced by around 20% over long distances due to safe slip-streaming; and tests have shown that drivers quickly adapt to sitting in a car driven by technology alone.
Wahlstrom continues, "People think autonomous driving is science fiction, but the technology is already here. The road train will be around in one form or another in the future."
16 May: On 28 May over 100 classic cars of all eras will leave Peking on this year's Peking to Paris rally. The 7,500-mile route is expected to take 33 days to complete. A 1913 Ford Model T is the oldest car taking part while the newest is a 1982 Renault 4.
13 May: Citroen is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Mehari with a special display at the company's C_42 showcase on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The Mehari was created by a French fighter ace, based on the Citroen 2CV and used bright-coloured plastic bodyw