It is being billed as a glimpse of the future – a convoy of self-driving cars has been tested on public roads.
Volvo and British technology company Ricardo have tested a so-called ‘road train’ consisting of two trucks and three cars on a highway near Barcelona, but only the lead truck has a driver.
Volvo car corporation project manager, Linda Walhlstrom described the experience:
“It’s quite fun to see the passing vehicles. They’re quite surprised seeing me not driving the car but reading a magazine. They will turn back and wonder if she actually driving?”
Using wireless communication and a new autonomous control system, the following vehicles ‘mimic’ the lead truck, accelerating, and turning in exactly the same way.
Driver Sonsoles Solis gave her opinion:
“Sometimes I’d prefer a car driven by itself than in the hands of any crazy person behind the wheel. It’s good, it’s progress, I like it.”
Cameras, radar and laser sensors are used to monitor the lead vehicle as well as other cars in their immediate vicinity.
If it takes off, being able to read or have a cup of coffee while driving might mean road rage becomes a thing of the past.