Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 25, 2011

SARTRE – Self-Driving Auto Train

at 1:32 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks


This is the car I want, reading a paper and drinking a coffee is my idea of a commute! I just hope the driver in the front who is leading the train of autonomous vehicles doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, have a heart attack or have a drinking problem.

Via: Gadget Blog and Geekologie

“SARTRE has been researching and developing a new system that enables a convoy of cars to be autonomously led behind a vehicle manned by a professional driver. The lead vehicle of the “train” isn’t anything special – just a cargo truck – but the Volvo S60 on his six is outfitted with a range of sensors, monitors and motors which allow it to follow in its path. A network of these vehicles could tuck in behind each other and allow the drivers to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee and get through the morning paper on their way to work.”

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13 Responses to “SARTRE – Self-Driving Auto Train”

  1. SuperSparky Says:

    A similar system to this was being developed and tested in San Diego on the Interstate 15 carpool lane a few years ago.

    The difference was they used magnets in the roadway to guide the cars without a truck. The distance between the cars was one foot. It was fun to see them driving by. It was quite a site.

    However, I think the company developing the system ran out of money.

    I do have a question about the system above. What happens if the truck driver goes off the road?

  2. steven Says:

    Does it drive by itself?

  3. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Steven,

    Yes the front vehicle is driven by a human and all the other cars follow autonomously.

  4. stunmonkey Says:

    in other words, an enormously expensive and technologically intensive way to mimic the functions of a simple bus, but done using an enormously expensive, large, and resource inefficient train of individual automobiles each burning fuel.

    can someone explain the upside of this to me?

  5. rdzombie Says:

    i just want an automated towbar so i can latch onto the rigs bumper, pop my car into nuetral and use his gas not mine.

  6. Travis42 Says:

    Eventually this tech will get good enough that the cars can link, or travel closely enough to create a drafting effect. Either way, the wind resistance goes down, creating a more efficient ride.

    It also lets you become a passenger, which is nice for some people.

  7. stunmonkey Says:

    um, travis? you just described a bus, dude.

  8. Travis42 Says:

    Fair enough. 🙂

    It is kind of like public transport without hobos. Still, if the energy crisis is going to get as bad as people say, this is the future.

  9. Rob Says:

    Did anyone else misread the name and skip over this post because you thought it turned out to just be “satire”?

  10. stunmonkey Says:

    If the energy crisis gets bad, then public transportation might do it, real trains might do it, people living closer than 50 miles from where they work might do it.
    Simply virtually chaining all the same single-commuter containing SUV’s together in a long inefficient train won’t do a damn thing.

  11. UK Tool Centre Says:

    I listened to a program about this on Radio 4 (in the UK) a few weeks ago. They were suggesting that at this time only 3 cars could potentially be used in the ‘train’ which I didn’t think was going to be that useful. Obviously there is an issue that the longer the train becomes the greater the risk that an obstruction ahead changes from the lead car… and of course blocking people getting on or off the road using the exits. Will be interesting to see where this goes.

  12. Self Driving Car Train | Self Driving Car Says:

    […] is a very cool video, posted all over the web: here, here and here of and course […]

  13. Alex Says:

    The dumbass world is trying to take away one of the best stuff man have, the pleasure of changing gears, step on the gas, take over a few cars, and everything because some shit humans cant drive without help….. just shoot them and keep out of tha way.

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