Road Safety News

Self-drive cars on the horizon

Wednesday 26th September 2012

Within 10 years, drivers could be able to read, make calls and send emails without endangering themselves or other road users, thanks to new technology being developed by Volvo (Telegraph).

Volvo has spent the last three years working on the 'Safe Road Trains for the Environment' project, known as SARTRE. It entails joining a number of cars together in a convoy which is controlled by a lorry at the head of the line.

It is the latest take on self-driving cars which, according to the Telegraph, are seen as safer because they take the risk of human error out of motoring. The car train is slightly different and is designed to combine the benefits of rail travel – the ability to use time productively – with the flexibility of having one’s own vehicle.

According to Volvo the car train is ideal for lengthy motorway journeys. Not only do drivers make better use of their time, but the smoother journey cuts fuel consumption by 20%. It also uses technology which is already in place such as “adaptive cruise control” which, instead of setting the speed, fixes the distance a car is from the vehicle in front.

All a motorist has to do is join the platoon, which is led by a lorry using a radio signal to control the cars behind it. By pressing a button on the dashboard drivers can signal their intention to leave the convoy and resume control of the car.

Sweden and Belgium are seen as the countries which will lead the way in adopting the technology once official approval has been given, says the Telegraph.

Máire 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.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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Let's not forget that some lorries are restricted to 57 mph on motorways anyway so if one is in a hurry don't use this system. Anyway if one gets behind one of those lorries nowadays because they drive round abreast in pairs or threes or sevens one can't drive any faster anyway.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

'Drivers could be able to read, make calls and send emails'. They already do!!
Del, Herts

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

By year 2000 we all going to live a life of leisure and be flying round in our own personal transporter.
Del - Herts

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

With respect, there is a huge difference between a parking/reversing system where the car is moving slowly into a space and a car reliant on software travelling at 70mph! A colleague reminds me that what happens if the lorry crashes..........?
Joe - Sefton

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

Didn't we hear the same comments about reversing warnings and then auto parking systems?
We are only talking about using them on motorways. If they work, they will soon come into general use and before long will become the norm. If they don't work, they won't.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

What are the implications with regard to insurance as there is now a third party involved in the direct control of your vehicle? In the event of a temporary software hiccup who is responsible?
Keith Bristol

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

As much as I applaud new advances in Road Safety, will this not just remove the whole driving experience? If I wanted to sit down, read a paper or make a phone call I would indeed just take the train!

How many people will just activate the 'Platoon' button, sit back and forget to leave at their motorway junction! This in turn will mean the driver will panic, release from the 'Platoon' and collide with a car in a different lane or use more fuel going back down the motorway!
Joe - Sefton

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)