‘Road trains’ look like a severe pile-up in the making

'Road trains' look like a severe pile-up in the making

You’ve probably seen a road train before. A couple of tankers are often hitched to a single truck cab, and even several cabs can be stacked up for transport. Now, the European Union is looking into the viability of doing that with cars — with drivers still behind their wheels — by taking advantage of wireless technology.

The public road train would involve a professional driver, which would control all of the vehicles in its train. “Each of the vehicles will have their own control and software monitoring system,” Tom Robinson an engineer from Ricardo working on the project, told the BBC. “We’re looking at what it would take to get platooning on public highways without making big changes to the public highways themselves.”

To join the train and leave it, a driver would signal the lead car and everything would be automated — including the driving. Tests will be carried out at the end of the year on test tacks in the UK, Spain and Sweden. In Spain, however, additional tests will also happen on public roads. If this is a bad idea, we’ll probably hear about it pretty soon.