The government has been cracking down on our God-given right to text while driving, so Swedish engineers have been working tirelessly to develop self driving cars to alleviate the dreadful legislation. Financed by the European Commission, the engineers behind project SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) have created a working method of linking cars together to form a virtual conga-line.
The speed and steering of each car is controlled by a single lead vehicle in a method called “platooning”. It’s an interesting technique, and unlike many other autonomous driving solutions, doesn’t use GPS or sensors to gather information from the surrounding area.
Since the system has no awareness of nearby objects, apart from other cars in the convoy, it’s ideal for highway use, where vehicles generally travel in straight lines with little change in speed. The project aims to increase fuel efficiency and safety while minimizing traffic by moving the cars closer together and raising the average speed.
Legal roadblocks are sure to prevent SARTRE from entering the commercial market any time soon, but autonomously controlled vehicles are becoming more intelligent everyday (suspiciously so, in fact), so it’s only a matter of time until they are able to transport us to wherever they see fit.
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