Volvo recently unleashed a convoy of self-driving cars on a public motorway in Barcelona, Spain during normal traffic. The convoy successfully completed a 125-mile trip in what is considered the world's first public test of this kind. The endeavor is part of the Sartre project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) that believes vehicle convoys can reduce fuel consumption and accidents.
The convoy consisted of a Volvo XC60, Volvo V60, Volvo S60, and two trucks. One of the trucks led the pack and was driven by a professional driver, while all the other vehicles were autonomous, using radars, laser sensors, cameras, and wireless technology to mimic the lead vehicle. The cars would accelerate, brake, and turn in the same way as the leading truck.
Volvo's project manager Linda Wahlstrom was shown driving one of the autonomous cars in the convoy. The system told her when to lift her feet from the pedals and remove her hands from the wheel. As the vehicle synced up with the lead truck, she was able to read a magazine as the car drove itself.
The convoy test was completed on May 22 with the above photo released of the convoy today. The Sartre Project in Spain along with Google's self-driving cars in the US indicate that technology is ready for autonomous vehicles but legislation and user acceptance remain barriers.
[via Phys Org]