Commuting could take on a whole new meaning with the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) research project funded by the European Commission.
The project, based on the concept of linking vehicles together using wireless sensors, is aimed at finding an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of getting cars to travel together, convoy style.
The way to do this, according to project SARTRE, is to create road trains of up to eight separate vehicles – cars, buses, and trucks – which has the potential not only to reduce fuel consumption, but also improve journey times and reduce congestion.
Lead vehicles would be driven by a professional driver controlling the road train. Any vehicle could use their sat-nav sensor to determine if a road train’s going their way. If it were, they would be able to approach the moving road train and indicate that they wish to join. The lead vehicle would then take control of the vehicle, positioning it and pulling it closer, allowing the newly joined driver to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery rather than focusing on driving.
The SARTRE project, scheduled to run for three years, aims to first determine the true feasibility of these “road trains” and then track test it in the UK and Sweden, with further plans for public road trials in Spain.
If successful, road trips as we know them will never be the same again.
Read more about this project here.