Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
January 26th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

BIG I: Eat, Text, Read...& Drive?!


If you work, you likely drive to work.  Actually according to the latest Census data, 76% of people commute to work using a car.  And they spend an average of 25 minutes commuting to work.  Now imagine if you were able to get that 25 minutes back to eat, text, read or even sleep in the car!  This new technology is today's Big I and I want to break it down for you.  Its called Safe Road Trains for the Environment or the SARTRE Project.  First lets start with how it works.

Click here for the animation. So you're driving down the street and you see the "train".  It's a truck-style vehicle in the front of the line.  That train leader is able to control your acceleration, braking and steering using wireless technology in your car.  So you send a request to the leader of the convoy.  You are then able to sit back and relax while your car is "pulled" into the convoy.  When you want to leave, you send a signal to the leader.  You're then released from the convoy and you can go about your merry way.  The system then automatically closes the gap that your car created.

Now lets talk about a system like this actually coming to market.  The SARTRE Project started in 2009.  Just last month, the team tested the technology at Volvo's test track in Sweden...and they say the technology worked!  The next step is to test the system with a five-car convoy.

We'll let you know how it goes.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • The Big I
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. George Phillips

    Hello Ali

    I love this idea, back when I had a job I would cross no less than 5 freeways to get to work and 5 freeways back. this was an average of 160miles/day. Oh welcome to Califonia. I am an Engineer and I had lots of time to wish for a device like this. They need to get this to market ASAP. Oh do they need a V&V engineer?

    Best regards, George

    January 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  2. KennethinAtlanta

    I foresee a lot of morning commuters looking up from their engrossing Facebook session to find themselves in the diesel fuel line at a truck stop.

    In Kansas.

    What happens to the train in the event of the lead vehicle slamming into a sudden obstacle? The word 'lemmings' comes to mind.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  3. John, Charleston, SC

    This thing about violence and hand gun will always be slanted because of america's love affiars with gun. you wont be able to get a true report about the level of violence from the mass media, but just listen to the daily news and read the local police blotter.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  4. Nancy Barkman

    Ali, I love your afternnon show. I appreciate your approach – to show more fully developed news stories. They are much more interesting than just phrases and pictures. Thank you.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  5. KVS

    Sounds like a great idea. My question is will they handle a truck sor cars entering from freeway ramp in the middle of a train?

    January 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Arthur kellerman MD at Emory has published about the link between guns and violence. He would be an authority on this topic , and he's in your backyard... He is an ED physician.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  7. colleen

    This is crazy (: aha i could never do that

    January 27, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  8. surfin

    With regard to convoys via wireless connections controlling independent vehicles, the onus is on the lead truck. If a technical malfunction occurs, is the link broken? Also, if someone is eating, texting, reading or whatever, how much response time will be required to take control of your vehicle, expecially if you are not watching the road. Sounds like a bunch of multi-tasking that will keep people safe but as we know, it's easy to say you multi-task- not easy to do. Sounds like a good idea but I thought that's what the railways are for.

    January 27, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. Ron

    So in practical use, does this mean when I get on the freeway I'll either have to drive like a bat outta hell to catch up to the last convoy or drive really slow and hope the next one comes along before I make it to my exit? Well I guess it's better than waiting for a subway train 😉

    January 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  10. Tim

    So ... I'm in the middle lane... choosing to be an independent and not join the convoy ... but as I near my exit there is a convoy passing the exit ramp .... can I cut through? do I stop in the middle of the freeway and wait for the convoy to pass me so I can exit? What if the convoy has to change lanes to maneuver around an obstacle and there are cars in the middle lane .... oops ... stop eating and texting 'cause you need to solve an immediate problem that the convoy just led you into. .... Just some thoughts ...

    January 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  11. ibike

    i like it. i wonder if this was developed by a bicyclist??

    February 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  12. Larry

    I saw a system like this on a special done in the 60s where a cable was in the middle of the lane and had control of an onboard computer. The host was Walter Chronkite.

    February 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.