Three self-driving cars traveling 200 km on a highway with real traffic
Last February the SARTRE project (Safe Road Train for the Environment ) made its first test out the simulator, closed track to achieve the desired driving "follow the leader", self-guided cars that follow the trail of a truck driven by professionals.
Now for the first time a "road train" has been testing on asphalt public with real traffic conditions, more specifically on a highway near the city of Barcelona and the rest of regular drivers.
This was announced today at a brief press release Swedish automaker Volvo, which mentions neither the road nor the kilometer of the route or if each car had to pay toll made them separately or group rate.
But they assert that the historical evidence has been carried out successfully by a truck platoon leader that led to it's slipstream a Volvo XC60, a Volvo V60 and Volvo S60.
Apparently, the cars circulated at an average speed of 85 km / h with a maximum distance of 6 meters between them. In each vehicle, at least one driver was absolutely delegate its functions on the steering wheel and pedals to autonomous driving technology developed by the British company Ricardo UK Ltd.
This particular system consists of cameras, radar and laser sensors for monitoring, allowing each vehicle to control their conduct with respect to its environment, while the data transmitted wirelessly tell the lead vehicle when every "follower" accelerates, brakes or tour, all in real time and real traffic conditions.
The European SARTRE project has been underway since 2009 and a total test vehicles have traveled over 10,000 miles on the track closed. But after the successful coming-out in the public highways of Spain, the project is now entering a new phase with a focus on optimizing the fuel consumption using self-guided driving, resulting in higher aerodynamic efficiency in cars going protected by a truck in the lead.
And if they succeed in this aspect, the system's benefits are expected to be significant: an estimated saving in fuel consumption of around 20%, apart from the safety benefits to be derived from the reduction of accidents by decreased reflexes or driver fatigue.