Road Trains, or ‘vehicle platooning’ is a design predicted to change traditional motorway driving for the better. Improving on fuel consumption and road safety, this new technology could be in production within the next five years.
New technology has enabled the concept of road trains, otherwise known as ‘vehicle platooning’, to be successfully developed and demonstrated (Ricardo).
Road trains are due to revolutionise motorway driving in as little as ten years’ time. The EU financed the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project which was displayed at Volvo’s Proving Ground in Sweden.
When testing the method in a Volvo S60, a driver showed how he could ‘read a newspaper and drink a cup of coffee while driving behind a van at the test site’ (Volvo). The process involves a line of cars connecting and communication using smart technology. A professional driver can lead the line, allowing the drivers of the rest of the ‘train’ to relax; they do not have to drive at all. The cars are not physically attached to the platoon; the technological design simply enables each car to adjust to the distance, speed and direction of the car ahead of it (Ricardo).
Road safety is said to be improved by the design as the human element is removed from driving: a cause of over eight per cent of road incidents. Furthermore, it saves fuel and carbon emissions by up to twenty per cent, making the system better for the environment than conventional motorway driving (Volvo).An addition bonus, according to the manufacturer, is that the system is ‘convenient for the driver because it frees up time for other matters than driving.’ (Volvo).
Development of the road train technology is very much in progress and is predicted to go into production in just a few years’ time (Ricardo). However, the public acceptance and legislation, under which twenty-five EU governments must agree similar laws, may take much longer (News).
Ricardo Demonstrates Road Train Technology. Thegreencarwebsite. Retrieved from
News Technology. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12215915
Volvo Tests Self-Driving Road Train Technology. Motortorque. Retrieved from