The SARTRE project stands for “Safe Road Trains for the Environment” and involves a new technology which is called “platooning”. Volvo notes that “platooning” may become a standard way of traveling long distances in as little as 10 years. But what does it all mean, what is “platooning” and what exactly is a “road train”
SARTRE Project may solve traffic problemsWhile the SARTRE project is still in its very early stages, the technology hopes to create a different way for a number of people to travel long distances in something of a convoy, without the need to “drive” their cars. It works by having the lead car, or truck, driven by a professional driver which controls the entire platoon. Behind this lead vehicle is a lineup of other cars which drive themselves in accordance with the lead vehicle. The cars in the lineup automatically measure the distance, speed and direction and automatically adjust themselves accordingly.
What is the point of it all though? There are a number of advantages to the SARTRE project and ideally it hopes to achieve:
• Improved road safety • Better road space utilization • Improved fuel economy • Reduced fuel consumption • Improved driver comfort
From the first tests that were carried out, you can see that the travel speed is particularly slow but Volvo intend to increase the speed as the SARTRE project advances. There will naturally be a number of issues with technology like this and there is a debate as to whether the amount of time, money and effort they are putting into this is even worth it. Especially when the biggest gain is simply that you can do other things while your car drives itself. If you suffer from motion sickness like me, and you can’t read in the car without getting nauseous, what exactly can you do? The other point is that doing the driving on these long trips is often more entertaining than being a passenger and just sitting back in your seat. And with the SARTRE project, everyone will be a passenger.
I don’t really see the point of the SARTRE project but it is still in the very early stages so I’ll wait and see how it turns out.