Three autonomously driven Volvos – an S60, V60 and an XC90 – running in convoy on a Swedish test track recently took part in a ‘road train’ demonstration at 56mph (90kph) behind a lorry as part of the SARTRE (safe road trains for the environment) programme.

The scheme aims to develop the possibility of driverless convoys on the public road and, as the sole car manufacturer involved in the project, Volvo believes the scheme, involving a “multiple vehicle platoon”, with maximum 6m gaps between the vehicles, offers major potential fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, road capacity utilisation and safety benefits.

It is claimed that up to 20% of energy could be saved as a result.

A spokesman for the Swedish manufacturer also speculated that ultimately, within the appropriate legal framework, business car drivers could operate their mobile phones or laptops while travelling in a controlled convoy and allowing the car to drive independently.

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