No need to steer the wheel or put your feet on the gas because SARTE will do all the work for you. This time last year, the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) program hit a milestone. Using a specially equipped Volvo S60 with a big-rig taking the lead, the EU-funded researchers managed to create the world’s first fully-functional road train, allowing the driver in the sedan to sit back and enjoy the ride without touching the controls.
Today, Volvo – the program’s only automotive partner – has announced that the SARTRE program is in its final phase of testing, and that includes adding a few more vehicles to the rolling procession of autonomous cars.
Utilizing a combination of cameras and radar-based sensors, the vehicles in the platoon can travel up to 55 miles per hour while maintaining a 20-foot gap between each other. An electronics-packed truck takes the lead and handles driving for all the vehicles in the group, meaning there’s still at least one driver in control.
By the end of this year, the SARTRE team hopes to have up to six vehicles rolling in line, with the potential to reduce fuel consumption, congestion and – naturally – driver error in the future. So when’s it coming to market? That’s up to automakers, governments and the rest of us to decide, so we’re still quite a ways out.Make the jump for more details and to see the system in action.
Remember you can take over manual anytime you want. This hints at the movie I-Robot with Will Smith.