If apps like Weeels are about sharing vehicles better, the road train concept – a platoon of cars led automatically down the highway by a “leader” car – is about sharing the road better.
This isn’t science fiction. As we wrote last year, the idea is “to link cars up in a kind of contact-less highway conga line, eliminating the potential for congestion, reducing crashes, maximizing cars’ fuel efficiency, accelerating the journey, and also, of course, taking the whole ‘driving’ thing out of driving.
In Europe, the idea of cars that drive themselves is being forged by the European Union’s Safe Road Trains for the Environment (Sartre) initiative, which plans to have a real-world test with a single following car by the end of 2010.
While the technologists are confident about the safety of such a system, the sensation of sitting behind the wheel fully lost in a movie or a newspaper will probably take drivers some getting used to (but probably not too much). Just buckle your seatbelts everyone.