Safe Road Trains for the Environment

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SARTRE logo.png

Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) is a European Commission-funded project to investigate and trial technologies and strategies for the safe platooning of road vehicles, a transportation concept in which several vehicles are electronically linked together in a "road train", with only the lead driver in active control. The three-year project was launched in 2009. The research and development was carried out by several European auto manufactures with Volvo at the lead. A first practical test successfully took place in December 2010. In September Volvo announced that the SARTRE research project had come to a close, and that the company was ready to look into putting its finished product on the road.[1]

Project aims[edit]

The aim of the project is to develop prototype systems to aid the development of platooning for eventual use on unmodified public motorways, interacting with non-platooned traffic.[2] The project was formally launched in September 2009, with an intended duration of three years.[3] The EU hopes the use of platooning on European roads would cut fuel consumption, journey times, and congestion.[4]

Proposed system[edit]

The SARTRE platooning system envisages a platoon of up to eight vehicles linked electronically, with the lead vehicle controlled by a professional driver, controlling in turn those following, as slave vehicles. Aimed at commuters in cars, but also possibly commercial vehicles and buses, drivers would be able to join and leave the platoon at will. To keep costs down, the technology for the system is to be achieved through off the shelf components, and specifically without requiring costly changes to highway infrastructure.[4]

Funding and participants[edit]

The SARTRE project is run as a consortium, funded by the European Commission under their Seventh Framework Programme.[2] The consortium is led by the British company Ricardo UK.[5] Other participating organisations are:[6]


Test track trials of SARTRE platooning took place at the Volvo Proving Ground near Gothenburg, Sweden and in a public road in Spain.[7] In January 2011 the first successful trial took place at Volvo's test track in Sweden, in which a single car followed behind a rigid truck. With control being taken by the truck, the driver of the slaved car was able to take his hands off the wheel, read a newspaper, and sip coffee.[5]

In January 2012 SARTRE carried out a second demonstration in a public road in Barcelona, Spain, this time with a multiple vehicle platoon, a lead truck followed by three cars driven entirely autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) with a gap between the vehicles of no more than 6 m (20 ft). Volvo Car Corporation was the only participating car manufacturer.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "20 Cars That Drive Themselves". CIO Magazine. 12 October 2012. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "About the SARTRE project". The SARTRE Project. n.d. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Cars that drive themselves can become reality within ten years" (PDF) (Press release). The SARTRE Project. 22 October 2009. Archived from the original (pdf) on 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b "'Road trains' get ready to roll". BBC News. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b "'Road train' technology trials get rolling". BBC News. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Project Partners". The SARTRE Project. n.d. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b GCC staff (24 January 2012). "SARTRE project completes first successful on-road demo of multiple vehicle platooning". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 25 November 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


External links[edit]