Volvo offers self-driving technology to its first 100 customers

Article by Christian A., on January 15, 2017

Like other car companies, Volvo is also busy preparing for the autonomous future. As a matter of fact, the Swedish manufacturing firm is giving its first customers their firsthand experience of what self-driving technology has in store for the coming years. To prove it, a family from Gothenburg Sweden will be given this great opportunity of riding a fully-autonomous Volvo.

Volvo’s full autopilot feature is expected to be ready by 2021. In line with their research program, the Hain family from Sweden was chosen to take part in the experience. This extraordinary offer means that they will be riding on a fully-autonomous vehicle in the most realistic traffic environment. With the driver’s role in mind, this type of strategy will help Volvo in enhancing their technology even further.

Following the launch of its “Drive Meresearch program, Volvo has provided its first 100 customers the chance to ride the autonomous-ready XC90 SUVs. These vehicles will be going around Sweden, China and the UK. The engineers at Volvo are slated to perform public road tests within California even if the US is excluded from the project.

Volvo is joined by other companies in developing the most effective and highly realistic autonomous road driving experience. Working under the so-called “Drive Me Project”, their goal is to come up with 100 autonomous vehicles on the road.

To speed up the development, Volvo has teamed up with Uber as well as with Zenuity and Autolive. Uber and Volvo will be working together for the vehicle’s hardware sensors while the two companies will be helping them with the software.

Henrik Green, Volvo’s Senior VP for Research and Development said that they want to find out more about what real people would actually do while the car is engaged (or disengaged) in autonomous driving.

As of now, Volvo’s autopilot technology comes with the same Pilot Assist system found on some of their vehicles such as the V90, the S90 and the XC90. Volvo’s self-driving cars will be equipped with cameras, LIDAR and sensors that would allow the vehicle to drive itself without human intervention.

Since the “Drive Me” project is still at the early phases of development, Volvo hopes to bring full-autonomy to its consumers within the expected timeframe. Whatever they will learn out of this would definitely help them achieve their goal in the near future.

In other news, Volvo will be launching the all-new XC40 crossover together with the revamped XC60 SUV this year. But if you’re in Detroit, you might as well check out Volvo’s V90 at the 2017 NAIAS.

Press Release

Volvo Cars puts people first in the development of autonomous cars

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has revealed its distinctive approach to developing autonomous cars with the introduction of a family of four at the Detroit Motor Show.

The Hain family, from Gothenburg in Sweden, are the first people chosen to take part in a real-life autonomous drive research program using real cars, in real traffic.

“We do things differently at Volvo Cars – we always have,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Car Group. “Our main focus has always been on people and making their lives easier. Technology should improve the consumer experience making mobility safer, sustainable and more convenient.”

Volvo Cars believes that in the rush to deliver fully autonomous cars, many car makers are forgetting the most important ingredient: the people that will use them. Volvo’s unique approach is to define the technology based on the role of the driver – not the other way around.

“The aim of the Drive Me research project is to focus on how to enhance people's lives and have a positive impact on society. We take a holistic rather than a purely technical approach to our research and development processes. No one else to our knowledge is developing autonomous drive from a human-centric standpoint,” said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.

The Drive Me project is a collaborative research program consisting of several players from public, private and academic fields. It is probably the most advanced, ambitious and extensive real-life autonomous drive project in existence. The project will see up to 100 autonomous cars on the roads around Gothenburg, Sweden, home to Volvo Cars, driven by real people, in real traffic during 2017. The project is set to expand to other cities around the world in the near future.

“We want to learn more around how people feel when they engage and disengage autonomous drive, what the handover should be like, and what sort of things they would do in the car when it’s driving them to their destination,” added Henrik Green.

The Swedish car maker, a leading partner in the Drive Me research project, aims to have its first fully autonomous car on the market by 2021.

Volvo Cars provided a vision of what autonomous cars could deliver with Concept 26, revealed in 2015. More recently the company has partnered with ride-sharing company Uber to develop base technology for autonomous cars and has launched a joint venture with leading automotive safety supplier Autoliv, called Zenuity aimed at developing benchmark autonomous drive software and safety solutions for OEMs.

Volvo Cars also announced preliminary full year sales figures at the Detroit Motor Show, reflecting the continued growth that the premium car maker is achieving, and restated its commitment to further growing the brand in the United States, where a new Volvo car plant will begin production in 2018, creating over 4,000 new American jobs in Charleston, South Carolina.

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