Getting Their Trucks in a Row, Europeans Revisit the Convoy

Researchers in Europe are working on a concept that will be familiar to anyone who has seen films about the bands of travelers who settled the American West. The project is developing an electronic communications system that enables a wagon train of tractor-trailer trucks and cars to make semiautonomous road trips possible — without the complexity of efforts like Google’s driverless vehicles.

The Volvos — both the car and truck companies, that is, which have different owners — call the idea “platooning” and see it as a bridge to traveling by driverless cars.