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Will your car drive itself soon?



future-car-1If you are like me and half in the bag on some mornings because you don’t get enough sleep and are afraid of falling asleep at the wheel then this new ‘self-driving’ idea might just work for you.

A revolutionary roadtrain system that would allow cars to “drive themselves” as part of a convoy of vehicles on the motorway is set to undergo testing next year.

The EU project, known as Safe Road Trains for the Environment (Sartre), has been co-ordinated with the help of a UK company to develop technology that will allow a “lead” vehicle, such as a bus or taxi, to assume “normal” driving practice, which the pursuing vehicles will then follow. Once formed, the roadtrains will allow drivers to relax behind the wheel in a similar fashion to current cruise control systems, with a navigation system and a transmitter/receiver taking over driving duties until the driver is ready to leave the motorway.

The system has been designed to increase safety and reduce the environmental impact of motorway driving by exploiting the slipstream that is generated by a convoy of vehicles moving at speed. This passageway of “clean” air reduces the overall drag placed on the car, cutting the amount of fuel used over the course of a long journey.

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January 5th, 2010

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