The Road Train Will Mean Driving Without Hands

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.

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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.