Volvo demonstrates wireless technology as SARTRE concludes 10 December 2012

Using wireless technology to command platoons of trucks is now feasible, says Volvo, which proved its technology at the conclusion of the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project.

It may take some time for wireless road trains to be part of everyday reality, but the technology could be put to use for other purposes make traffic safer in the near future, says the Swedish truck manufacturer.

In its demonstration of a wireless road train, a Volvo FH truck ran around the company's Swedish proving ground, closely followed by another Volvo truck and three Volvo cars.

"The gaps between the vehicles are much smaller than in normal traffic, but it is as safe – or even safer – to be part of the road train, since it is computers, not human beings, who respond to even the slightest change," explains Andreas Ekfjorden, project manager for Volvo Trucks' portion of the SARTRE project.

One of Volvo Trucks' key responsibilities has been to determine which information needs to be transmitted back down the road train so that other vehicles can follow the lead truck automatically.

"All the vehicles in the road train have a roof-mounted antenna so they can receive information from the lead vehicle's computer system," explains Ekfjorden.

"For instance, if the lead truck starts braking, all the other vehicles in the train brake at exactly the same time," he says.

For Volvo's wireless road train demonstration, the lead truck was also equipped with an alcolock and the full range of active and passive safety systems that Volvo has in production today.

John Challen

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Volvo Group UK Ltd

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