Volvo says the latest test drive of the SATRE road-train marks the final chapter in a three-year-long project, which has seen the development of the next step in autonomous driving technology. Since 2009, the company has been one of the driving forces behind the EU-funded SARTRE project (Safe Road-Trains for the Environment), bringing vehicle platooning technology closer to becoming a reality on Europe’s roads. Platooning aims to improve safety, efficiency, mileage, and travel time, whilst relieving traffic congestion and decreasing pollution. The technology allows the driver to join a ‘road train’ lead by one professional driver. Each car measures the distance, speed and direction and adjusts to the car in front. All vehicles are totally detached and can leave the procession at any time. Once in the platoon, drivers can relax whilst the platoon proceed towards its destination.
SARTRE is the only project of its kind to focus on the development of technology that can be implemented on conventional motorways, without any change to current infrastructure. Volvo predicts this type of technology could be seen on European roads within a decade and it will create significant improvements to traffic flow and journey times, as well as environmental benefits, with energy saving potential of up to 20% on journeys. The company says that with the final demonstration of the technology on the road, the stage is now set to start the necessary steps, which will see legislation being passed in order for the technology to be introduced on Europe’s roads.
Speaking about the SARTRE project, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for research and innovation, said, “This technology is a promising example of an innovative approach to making transport greener, safer and smarter. Sometimes we need to look beyond business as usual, to arrive at sustainable solutions. That is why we have proposed nearly EUR7 billion (US$9.2 billion) for smart, green and integrated transport research in our future research program; Horizon 2020.”
17 September 2012
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