The SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) has completed the first test demonstrations of a multiple vehicle platoon. The test fleet 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.
It is argued that road trains promote safer transport as the vehicle platoons are led by a professional driver in a truck and inter-vehicle reaction response times are much quicker. Environmental impact is reduced since the cars follow close behind each other and reap the benefit of lower air drag. The energy saving is expected to be in the region of up to 20 per cent. Road capacity will also be able to be use more efficiently.
Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic & product safety director at Volvo Trucks, said: “Our participation in the SARTRE project enables more efficient and safer transports with the potential of also saving fuel. It gives us the opportunity to explore future transport solutions and take advantage of the extensive research carried out at Volvo Trucks and Volvo Technology.”
The SARTRE project is being driven by seven European partners and is the only one of its kind to focus on the development of technology that can be implemented on conventional highways in which platooned traffic operates in a mixed environment with other road users.