Autonomous Driving

03 SARTREsmallThe Sarte Project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), which we have only picked up details of recently, was a European Commission funded research into vehicle platoons.

A vehicle platoon is a road train with vehicles, where vehicles are autonomously following a manually driven lead vehicle, driven by a professional driver.

The project had seven partners from four countries in Europe to discover the possibilities with vehicle platoons on public highways.

The project started on 1st September 2009 and appears to have completed in August 2012. The budget for the project was €6.4m with around 60% of this being provided by the European Commission FP7 programme.

At the end of the project Sarte said, “Thanks to the partners in the SARTRE road train project, you may soon be able to take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road in your own car – leaving the automated driving to modern technology.”

Thankfully the project produced a video, which saves us from trying to explain about the road train/vehicle platoon, you can watch the video below.

I can do something else than the actual driving

At about 40 secs into this video on self drive vehicles the person being interviewed says, “Convenience since I can do something else than the actual driving its safe since the system will take care of the driving it will eliminate the human errors”.

Further into the video the driver is sitting reading a magazine – there are other drivers using a lap top/tablet – is this the future?

There are also comments about fuel consumption – minor gap size between the vehicles – reduce air drag – improve fuel consumption.

So what do you think of that?

More details at the Sarte Project –

We first reported on this on the Right To Ride EU Facebook page – Click Here

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  1. Reference previous – it’s a metaphor – i.e. riding without a brain – which would make an interesting title for an article in relation to ITS and autonomous driving/riding.

    Personally I’m all for cheap public transport which I think would be a far better alternative to the sheer waste of petrol/diesel, clogged up roads.

    The money they are wasting on this crap, could be used to expand public transport networks.

  2. Sleepy Hollow comes to mind… headless riders. (evil laugh)…. great title for an article… hint hint..

  3. It appears the UK wants to go one further and make the UK a world centre for the development of driverless cars and to encourage that it is offering a £10m prize to fund a town or city to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles – any offers?

    Having said that Milton Keynes is already experimenting with driverless pods and they hope that by mid-2017 that a 100 fully autonomous vehicles will be running – will that include PTWs?

    More details at: BBC News

  4. So… what happens when one ‘driver’ in the chain falls asleep due to having nothing to do and the chain then needs to split up? And the ‘professional’ driver in front: in our increasingly litigious society what happens when he gets it wrong?

    A lot of questions and scenarios still to consider, I think.

  5. René Bertin says

    I haven’t yet watched the video nor perused the site, but I can’t say I like the idea. We’ve already got “trains” of trucks driving on the busier highways here in France, and that’s something I’d rather see moved to its own road (not to say track 🙂 ) network than “improved” — even if the drivers do NOT try to overtake each other. If not only because they tend to mask road signs (speed limits …) and can make entering or exiting a RPITA.

    And just to pick up on those passive drivers freed up to do something else: how does such a system handle the situation where someone in the train wants to exit (esp. on a last-minute decision)?

  6. Thanks Steve for the comedy reply 😉

    I did see a comment somwhere that this would put all the cars where riders can see them and keep them there. However I do wonder, as the cars are following the truck and the system is tied into that truck, when the truck pulls of the motorway or crashes is there a lot of panic from the following drivers to switch the system off!

  7. Jeez – I’m glad you told me about this as I’ve seen drivers reading magazines, using the steering wheel as a desk, etc for years where I am and I thought it was just bad driving.

    On a positive note it has to be a good thing for motorcyclists as the number one killer for us are motorists and anything that can reduce that has to be a good thing.

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