Automated Road Trains: More Than Cars, Less Than Robocars

Automated vehicles are coming. That’s for sure. But until a computer can really be trusted with the lives of everyone on the road, there will be some intermediate steps that may improve mileage and traffic. The SARTRE system (Safe Road Trains for the Environment, not the best acronym I’ve seen) uses a road train system where cars would follow each other closely, guided by a human-driven front vehicle.

Most of what you need to know is shown in the illustration above. The trouble, of course, is that you’d need a hell of a lot of “lead” vehicles in order to accommodate demand. And the long stretches of two-lane road wouldn’t be navigable, since these immense road trains would be hazardous to pass.

It’s still an interesting idea, and it’s based on existing or realistic technologies, so it could be built. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing this one any time soon, unless your city or county has spare cash to pay hundreds of convoy leaders.

[via Auto In The News]