December 10, 2010

Semi-Autonomous Cars Driven in a Platoon, SARTRE’s Rube Goldberg Project

Straight from the School of Rube Goldberg, semi-autonomous Cars that are driven in a Platoon formation. 

SARTRE, a EU funded project, has a multi-year program to develop technologies to allow cars to drive on public roads in a platoon formation. A person drives the lead truck and controls the platoon of cars, the rest of the cars are driven automatically and do not require a person to actively drive them.

While there is a definite need for automated cars on roads, to free up people and to remove the drudgery of driving cars, the Platoon concept is too much Rube Goldberg’esque. Putting automated cars on the road is a complex problem and instead of making it simpler, driving them like a Train will make it even more complex.

Approaches like Google Automated Cars, where each car drives itself autonomously make the problem much simpler solve. That coupled with a Car Cloud network which tracks all cars on the public roads, automated cars will become practical.

Semi-Autonomous Cars driven as a Train