Google’s self-driving cars may be out on the road already, but it will take awhile before public is truly ready to give up all driving control to artificial intelligence. In the interim, Volvo has a solution that lets drivers (sometimes) sleep at the wheel while still improving highway safety—and it just completed the first real-world tests.
Dubbed SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), the EU-backed project is working on road trains—vehicles equipped with software already found in many Volvo vehicles (including laser sensors, cameras, and radars) that are automatically led along the highway by a lead vehicle, which is commandeered by a professional driver. Regular drivers could one day simply use in-car navigation to find the nearest highway road train, get on the tail end, and let the vehicle platoon take over steering, braking, and acceleration.
The 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV is a futuristic cop car with 4G communications and a Knight Rider-like voice interface. It also automatically scans every license plate in its line of vision for warrants and unpaid tickets.
Police cars have come a long way since Car 54. Motorola Solutions, one of the world’s leading security communications technology firms, recently unveiled a blinged-out next-generation cop car. The heavily modified 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Detective vehicle retails for approximately $30,000 before bid and bulk discounts and functions like a mobile police station. Motorola’s re-outfitted Caprices feature a full array of cameras and an immersive computer system that turns it into, as CTO Paul Steinberg tells Fast Company, a “virtual partner.”
Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors isn’t just an electric car company—it’s perhaps the greatest test of Silicon Valley’s innovation model. And now is do-or-die time, when everything is riding on a new $50,000 sedan.