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Volvo begins ‘Drive Me’ autonomous driving experiment

Volvo is going full steam ahead with Drive Me, a public autonomous driving project it claims is ‘the world’s most ambitious and advanced driving experiment’.

The Swedish manufacturer confirmed it had finalised its self-driving XC90 at its Torslanda special manufacturing facility and that 100 examples of the SUV will be made available for those partaking in the Drive Me project.

Volvo says the plan is to give the cars to families for testing in the city of Gothernburg of Sweden in 2017 so that it can collect feedback and input from actual customers, as opposed to the typical approach of relying on observations from engineers.

Knowing the harm negative press could do to Volvo and the future of self-driving cars, each XC90 will undergo a ‘rigorous testing phase’ to ensure the cars are operating as intended.

The modified XC90 uses a sensor system that will allow the driver to go hands and foot-free while it navigates pre-defined roads, but will require human intervention the rest of the time, making its level of sophistication between that of the Tesla Autopilot system and what Uber is testing.

It is hoped the Drive Me project can help Volvo achieve its aim of never having anyone die or be injured in one of its new cars by the year 2020 and will shed light on what customers will want to do when the car is doing all the work.

“This is an important milestone for the Drive Me project,” Volvo Cars senior technical leader of Active Safety Erik Coelingh said. “Customers look at their cars differently than us engineers, so we are looking forward to learn how they use these cars in their daily lives and what feedback they will give us.”

Volvo is hoping to provide customers with the option of full autonomy by the year 2021. It recently joined forces with Uber to develop the ‘next generation of autonomous driving cars’ and is working with automotive supplier Autoliv to develop ‘next-generation driving software’.

You can watch a video with more details of what Volvo is up to in the following video.

Video: Volvo completes first autonomous XC90


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