May 31, 2012 in Motor Trade Insurance News & Info
I know, I know, it’s yet another post about self driving cars… But isn’t it exciting?!
You may have read our previous articles about Google’s driverless cars, but it’s looking like they’re not the only one with a self driving car up their sleeve.
The SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project is a joint venture among seven European companies who took a convoy of three self driving cars and one self driving truck for a 124 mile test drive on a spanish highway with no crashes, bumps or even road-rage.
Via wireless communication the vehicles are linked and are fully aware of each-other. Following, accelerating, breaking and turning are set by the lead vehicle which in this case is a truck & operated by a professional driver.
“People think that autonomous driving is science fiction, but the fact is that the technology is already here,” Linda Wahlstrom, project manager for the SARTRE project at Volvo Car Corp., said in a statement. “From a purely conceptual viewpoint, it works fine and road train will be around in one form or another in the future.”
In order to join the convoy a driver must say “request for joining”, if the request is accepted then a computer network installed in the car will tell you to remove your hands from the wheel and take your feet from the pedals; leaving you to flick through a magazine, put some make-up on, make a call, eat some breakfast etc…
That being said, the project’s aim isn’t entirely to make a commute more comfortable and enjoyable. One of the main focuses on the driverless cars is to make the road’s a safer place. Increasing driver safety and closing in on human error (as well as improving fuel efficiency, as cars in a train drive together, eliminating wind drag).
SARTRE mention that although the technology is there that does not mean that people will feel comfortable being driven by nobody at up to 52 miles per hour on the motorway.
“I think it gets easier as time progresses and people become more familiar with the technology, and accept it more. I think as generations progress they become more familiar with it and more accepting of it,” said Tom Robinson, Project leader for SARTRE at Ricardo UK.
So, any thoughts? Google seemed to have the advantage on this but now we’re not so sure!