Volvo and partners successfully demonstrate self-driving vehicles

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Volvo Car Corporation's participation in the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) is a three-year campaign that started in 2009. The aim of SARTRE is to introduce self-driven, multiple-vehicle commuter convoys - otherwise known as road trains - to the roads. Now in its final year, the SARTRE project recently marked a significant milestone with the successful operation of a road train on a public motorway amidst other road users.

The historic test drive of the autonomous road train took place in Spain and consisted of one lead vehicle (a Volvo truck) followed by another truck, a Volvo S60, a V60 and an XC60. While completing the test, the SARTRE convoy drove at 85 km/h with gaps of six meters between the vehicles. In all, the vehicles in the SARTRE project have travelled approximately 10,000 kilometres according to Volvo.

"We covered 200 kilometres in one day and the test turned out well. We're really delighted," commented Linda Wahlström, project manager for the SARTRE Project at Volvo Car Corporation.

During live testing on public highways in Spain, Volvo covered thousands of kilometres with a road train consisting of a lead Volvo truck, followed by an autonomously-driven truck and three autonomously driven Volvo passenger vehicles. (Photo: Volvo)   The SARTRE project is shared between Volvo Car Corporation, Ricardo UK Ltd, Applus+ Idiada, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge Aachen (IKA) and SP Technical Research Institute. Vehicles involved in the project make use of cameras, radar and laser sensors in order to monitor the lead vehicle in the convoy as well as other vehicles in the immediate vicinity. The vehicles also use autonomous control technology provided by Ricardo UK Ltd in order to accelerate, brake and turn in conjunction with the lead vehicle, all while communicating wirelessly.

The main advantage of self-driven automobiles is to allow drivers the freedom to do other things like work on a laptop, enjoy a meal, read a book and so on. In addition to improving driver leisure, the autonomous road train results in reduced environmental impact since the vehicles in the convoy travel closely together, resulting in less aerodynamic drag and better fuel economy.

"We've learnt a whole lot during this period." added Wahlström "People think that autonomous driving is science fiction, but the fact is that the technology is already here."
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Volvo, Autonomous Vehicle Technology, Road Trains, Sartre,

Organizations: Volvo

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