It’s been in the news today that technology that will enable cars to travel in a ‘road train’, driving themselves. An EU project called SATRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) are set to develop and test a way of having up to eight vehicles travel together in a ‘platoon’.
The platoon is controlled autonomously by a professional driver in the lead car, who will monitor the status of the road train. This will allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel, so they can read, watch tele or use the phone. The road trains will be active, so drivers can join and leave whenever they want. If a driver wants to leave the train, they signal their intention to the lead driver and a bigger gap will be made to allow the car to leave.
SATRE are hoping this will be fairly inexpensive, vehicles will need to be equipped with a navigation system and a transmitter/receiver that will communicate with the lead vehicle, there will also need to be sensors linking up all the motorways. Road Trains are hoped to cut fuel consumption by up to 20%, journey times, congestion and reduce the amount of accidents.