Car makers around the world are working on smart car systems. These systems have the potential to improve safety and fuel efficiency by using communications between vehicles to optimize speeds and avoid collisions.
Volvo claims its Sartre system has scored a worlds first by being deployed among other road users. They successfully tested a “road train” of vehicles driving automatically behind a lead vehicle on the public roads outside Madrid. Their system build on radars, lasers and camera safety features already included in smart cars. A wireless network connects the convoy cars to lead vehicles. The vehicles in the platoon follow the lead vehicle using Ricardo autonomous control, to accelerate, brake and turn in exactly the same way as the leader.
This technology could be deployed pretty easy because it doesn’t rely on changes to the road monitoring systems or basic car manufacturing. It only needs the software developed as part of the project and the wireless network installed between the cars. So the system changes as little as possible in existing systems and doesn’t need infrastructure changes to the roads.
This system can be called a smart system because it could lead to a 20% reduction in fuel use and costs. It will also improve road capacity and drivers would be able to read their morning news paper while on the road to work.