Series on robocars in Wired


I'm back from a trip to the Netherlands and Ontario, and there's more to come on that, but the press awakening about robocars continues to grow:

This week, Wired has expanded it's "Let the Robot Drive" series with more articles:

In other news the Sartre road-train project reports a successful high-speed test with with a convoy of 4 vehicles behind a truck.


They mentioned that it was more environmental for the cars to be in a train, but they didn't say how much better. Do you have a feel for that?

I'm also wondering why the truck would be necessary. Or is this a prototype of the system the are envisioning?

If the truck is required, how does the it's MPG factor in to the efficiency?


I have seen various figures for the increase in fuel efficiency from drafting, but would say 30% can be done, possibly more. I have seen others claim less.

I think they are using a truck because it does provide quite a wind shadow, and because trucks are common and driven by professional drivers. Professional drivers do have higher class licences and good safety records, and those records are monitored. They don't change lanes much either and are satisfied with that. I believe the plan is to get trucks equipped to do this work, so that all a person has to do is get on the highway and look for a suitable truck to follow. They are easy to spot, unlike cars or vans.

The truck is presumably already taking the trip its taking so its mpg are not important.


Ahhhhh....It's not a *special* truck. It's *any* truck. Now it makes perfect sense.

And I agree that truck drivers are safer than car drivers, which is hard to convince just about anyone else.


It's not any truck. But it would be an ordinary truck (already on the roads) with the appropriate radio unit to communicate with the cars in the convoy and give them instructions. It would not have to be a truck, I presume they just think trucks are a good target for their wind shadow, professional drivers and frequency. No reason they could not do it in cabs, buses etc. One important thing is that it be vehicles going a long way on the highway. You don't want to follow a car that might not be going that far, though you could make a system so any convoy you joined told you first how far it was going.

Hi Brad

Yeh the Wired series has been awesome.

In terms of the Road Train project.. we blogged about it, I'm personally not enthused. The cost of creating the wind break (including human driver) surely negates most of the benefit

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