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Auto 'Road Train' takes shape

2012-01-25 08:16

MAKE UP ON THE MOVE?: No problem! Volvo's Road Train will take over the driving while you spend that time catching up on other things.

The Road Train project, with Volvo Cars as its participating automaker, has just completed its first demonstrations of a “multiple vehicle platoon”.

The test fleet included a lead truck followed by three cars driven autonomously at speeds up to 90km/h.

Erik Coelingh, technical project manager at the Volvo Car Corporation, said: "The aim is for the entire road train to be completed in autumn 2012. By then we will have four vehicles after one lead vehicle driving at 90 km/h."


The project, which is called Sartre or Safe Road Trains for the Environment, is focused on the development of technology that can be implemented on regular highways where “platooned traffic” operates amongst other road users.

It also includes a study to identify infrastructure changes needed for the practise of vehicle platooning to become a reality, including addressing legal regulations, product liability and driver acceptance of automated vehicles.

According to Sartre, the main advantage of road trains is that the car driver is able to do other things. These road trains are also about promoting safer transport since the platoons are led by a professional driver, while the impact on the environment is reduced since the cars follow close behind one another and, so doing, benefit from lower air drag. 

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