BARCELONA, SPAIN – The quest to develop autonomous vehicles saw another milestone May 22 when a convoy of self-driving Volvos completed a 125-mile trip on a public highway just outside of Barcelona. 

The test was part of the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) Project, funded by the European Commission. A professional driver set the pace in the lead and was followed by four self-driven Volvo vehicles, including a second truck and three cars. The Volvo truck and cars – including an XC60, V60 and S60 – were wirelessly linked to each other and maintained a speed of about 52 mph. The self-driving vehicles used radar, laser sensors, cameras and wireless communications to mimic the movements of the lead vehicle.

The SARTRE project’s goal is to develop environmental road trains called “platoons.”

Project collaborators include Idiada and Robotiker-Tecnalia of Spain, Institut for Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (IKA) of Germany, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Volvo Car Corp. and Volvo Technology of Sweden.