Safe Road Trains for the Environment; developing strategies and technologies to allow vehicle platoons to operate on normal public highways with significant environmental, safety and comfort benefits.
SARTRE, funded by the European Commission under the Framework 7 programme, aims to encourage a step change in personal transport usage through the development of safe environmental road trains (platoons). Systems will be developed in prototype form that will facilitate the safe adoption of road trains on un-modified public highways with full interaction with non-platoon vehicles.
The programme will address the 3 cornerstones of transportation issues, environment, safety and congestion while at the same time encouraging driver acceptance through the increased “driver comfort”.
The programme is addressing a concept that as a whole will facilitate a step change in the use of private transportation. The consideration of how platoons interact with other non-platoon users is a critical facet of the programme. This programme has a significant element of research that is looking into this aspect and this will provide clear strategies that will be implemented in the prototype system.
A further unique element of the programme is the interaction between the lead vehicle and the following vehicles and how this can lead to a new business model for road use. I.e. following vehicles may be charged to join a platoon. The introduction of platooning on normal roads with private vehicles will achieve environmental benefits (with an estimated 20% emissions reduction), safety benefits (reduction of accidents caused by driver action) and a reduction on congestion (smoother traffic flow with potential consequential increase in throughput).