Volvo safety chief says road trains will be a feature of European roads by 2020
24 May 2011

Road trains will be a feature on Europe’s roads by the end of the decade, according to Volvo’s senior safety engineer.

Thomas Broberg said closed-road trials had already successfully got two cars attached to a road train and revealed that Volvo will be conducting field trials in Sweden by the end of the year.

Road trains feature a lead vehicle setting a pace on motorways that other cars can communicate with and connect to, leaving the speed and steering to the lead vehicle. Small fees are likely to be paid to the lead vehicle, said Broberg.

“Road trains allow a driver to use their time better, drive safer, reduce congestion and improve the environment,” he said. “You’re always following another car, so why not let the driving be done by someone else?”

Read more on road train technology

Broberg believes road trains are a step towards fully autonomous cars, technology that Volvo is also researching. “I believe they will happen,” he said. “From a technological point of view it’s challenging, but possible.”

He conceded there were legal and social issues surrounding road trains and autonomous vehicles, but added: “Until you try it, you cannot grasp these issues.”

Volvo has also set a target of no one dying in its cars by 2020, but concedes it needs to “understand the mechanisms about how people think” before this goal is realised. Safety chief Thomas Broberg added if Volvo could understand how people thought in the split seconds before a crash, it could take potential accident situations from the critical to the non-critical.

Geely’s purchase of Volvo could also have big implications for crash safety. Due to Volvo’s modest sales volumes, it takes six years to receive and digest crash statistics from its cars. But Geely’s plans to raise production levels will allow it to receive more data in a shorter time, in turn speeding up its crash safety development.

Mark Tisshaw

See all the latest Volvo reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?