Self-driving cars taking to road in pilot project
- Credit: Volvo
Volvo Cars will play a leading role in the world's first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvos will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
The ground-breaking project, Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility, aims to pinpoint the benefits to society of autonomous driving and positions Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Car Group, said: 'Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars' as well as the Swedish government's vision of zero traffic fatalities. This public pilot represents an important step towards this goal.
'It will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.'
The pilot will involve self-driving cars using about 50km of selected roads – typical commuter arteries with motorway conditions and frequent queues. In practical terms the responsibility is handed over to the car, which can handle all driving functions at the driver's discretion. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficient transition time.
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Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo Car Group, said: 'Our aim is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe 'harbour' if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control.'
The Drive Me project will focus on a number of areas including:
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How autonomous vehicles bring societal and economic benefits by improving traffic efficiency, the traffic environment and road safety.
Infrastructure requirements for autonomous driving.
Typical traffic situations suitable for autonomous vehicles.
Customers' confidence in autonomous vehicles.
How surrounding drivers interact smoothly with a self-driving car.
The project starts next year with customer research and technology development. The first cars are expected to be on the roads by 2017.
Autonomous driving will change the way we look at driving cars. As a driver in the future, you will be able to plan your drive with a mix of autonomous and active driving, making your journey more efficient.
Autonomous driving will pave the way for more efficient time-management at the wheel. You will be able to interact safely via phone or tablets or simply choose to relax.
The project also includes fully-automated parking, without a driver in the car. This allows the driver to walk away from the car at the parking entrance while the vehicle finds a vacant spot and parks by itself.