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Volvo Demonstrates Autonomous Road Train Concept

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On: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 4:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volvo Demonstrates Autonomous Road Train Concept

Players from all over the automotive and technology industries are working on developing autonomous driving systems. Last week, Volvo demonstrated its own take on autonomous driving with its first test of the European Union-supported Safe Road Trains for the Environment program.

The 'road train' tested by Volvo consists of a lead truck and a series of three self-driven cars following it. The vehicles travel at speeds of up to 56 mph with no more than 6 meters (about 20 feet) between them.

Similar to actual trains, road trains would allow vehicle 'drivers' to catch up on work, read the newspaper, eat breakfast, etc. Drivers would turn into passengers and would no longer be required to keep their eyes on the road or operate the vehicle. The system would essentially provide a public transportation-like commute on roadways.

Erik Coelingh, technical project manager at the Volvo Car Corporation, estimates that a truck + four car system could be ready this fall. However, in addition to the technology side, SARTRE requires some solutions from governmental regulators. Technical experts, politicians, legislators and traffic safety researchers are working to address issues like legal regulations and product liability.

According to Volvo, road trains would be safer because they'd be led by a professional driver in the truck. Essentially, you'd take away the variable of multiple drivers and put commuting under the direction of a professional and computer-based autonomous driving system. Eliminating some of the individual driving personalities on the road would also help to free up some of the congestion by making traveling speeds more uniform.

Volvo estimates that the road train system could boost efficiency by up to 20 percent thanks to the elimination of drag by way of the lead truck.

Take a look in the video below:

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



Stephy21 | 9:45AM (Thu, Feb 2, 2012)

I defiantly dont think this is going to be a good idea i will be very surprised if any lets this actually happen.


Sami18 | 9:46AM (Thu, Feb 2, 2012)

I would have to agree with you i am not very fond of this idea either.

  • Sami18

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