The SARTRE project, a project for Safe Road Trains for the Environment successfully tested a convoy of three self driving cars in Spain. It was recently only American internet giant Google was licensed to test its self driven cars in the state of Nevada.
SARTRE, the project which is a joint venture between seven European companies with Sweden's Volvo being the only auto company, successfully tested the convoy of vehicles in a Spanish highway for about 200 km without any safety issues. The test was highly successful as the highway was populated with other vehicles.
However, the working of Google's car and SARTRE's is different. While the Google self-driven car can be taken anywhere without a driver, the SARTRE convoy cars are linked together via wireless communication, with the cars responding, ie accelerating, braking and turning according to the leading car which is driven manually.
Any car can join the SARTRE convoy by sending a request to it. Once the request is accepted, the car can join the convoy like a coach in the train. Thereafter, the driver can handover the control of the car to the main car which is leading the convoy. It was reported that the cars in the convoy maintained a distance between 16 to 50 feet with the average distance being 20 feet.
The idea behind the concept is to make driving a more smoother and safer experience. The developers of the system say that the cars in the envoy would also deliver more fuel efficiency over maintaining a steady speed through out the drive.