For the first time ever, a Volvo truck has led a platoon – a convoy in which vehicles automatically follow a lead vehicle – on a public motorway amongst other road users.

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Vehicle platoon tests in the EU-funded SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project – a joint venture between seven European partners including Volvo Trucks – are making progress.

Now click before for more on this Volvo FH SARTRE convoy…

One major step forward was taken last week on a motorway outside Barcelona, Spain – the first-ever test drive of a road train consisting of both trucks and cars among other road users. The test convoy covered 200 kilometres (125 miles) in one day.

“The truck behaved exactly as expected, and the following vehicles responded just as planned. It was great to be a part of this landmark event,” Andreas Ekfjorden, Project Manager for Volvo Trucks in the SARTRE project and test driver of the lead truck in Spain told Tachoblog.

A road train consists of a lead vehicle followed by a number of vehicles. In the SARTRE project, existing vehicle safety systems – such as cameras and radar – are used by the following vehicles to monitor the lead truck as well as other vehicles in their immediate vicinity.

By adding wireless communication, all the vehicles in the platoon ‘mimic’ the lead truck – accelerating, braking and turning in exactly the same way as the lead vehicle.