While several automotive and high-tech companies are working hard to develop autonomous vehicles and the technologies that equip them, the Swedish brand is going the extra mile to stay one step ahead of its competition.
Volvo is collaborating with the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, and by 2017, a fleet of 100 autonomous vehicles will be released on the streets in the hands of customers. It’s a pilot project established not only between the manufacturer and the city, but also involves legislators and transport authorities.
Testing autonomous cars in the middle of the desert or on a lonely highway isn’t much of a problem. However, in the dense traffic of a city like Gothenburg, things can get a lot more complicated. The autonomous system must work harder to monitor all the movement around the vehicle and not only anticipate the trajectory of the cars surrounding it, but pedestrians too.
Volvo’s the autonomous driving system, called Drive Me, will be designed not to enhance the driving experience, but completely take the wheel and let passengers occupy themselves with other things. A cockpit presented at the Los Angeles Auto Show late last year, named the Concept 26, allows the driver to relax and read, watch online videos or listen to music without having to check the road ahead. For now, Volvo is the only manufacturer that’s promising a 100% autonomous system, and will take full responsibility for the actions their system will take in fully autonomous mode.
Volvo is also promising that by 2020, thanks to its suite of active and passive safety technologies, no one will be killed or seriously injured aboard a Volvo vehicle, including their autonomous cars. In addition, the manufacturer expects their self-driving cars to reduce fuel consumption, traffic congestion and investments in road infrastructures.