The European Commission have funded a project to develop technologies that will allow road trains to operate on normal public roads with substantial benefits to comfort, safety, and the environment. The SARTRE project has just seen the successful completion of the first test demonstrations, which included a lead truck followed by three cars driven entirely autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h – with no more than 6 metres gap between the vehicles.
Although cars are the principal subject of the experiment at present, many believe that it is in the road haulage sector that the project might well prove most useful. Tom Robinson of Ricardo UK said: “The successful completion of the first multiple vehicle tests of the SARTRE system is a significant achievement. This has allowed us to demonstrate the operation of SARTRE road train technology to key industry experts and to capture their responses, all of which were very encouraging. The demonstration system provides us with a solid foundation for further consideration of the challenges of bringing road trains to reality”.