Volvo is ramping up its efforts to put self-driving cars on the road, with the first autonomous vehicles said to be arriving as early as 2014. The cars will arrive as part of a government-endorsed pilot project known as ‘Drive me- Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility’, which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden.
So what exactly will the pilot entail? 100 self-driving cars will use approximately 50 kilometres of selected public roads in and around Gothenburg on roads chosen specifically because they include motorway conditions and frequent queues. Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group, said: “[Volvo’s] 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. It will look at how an autonomous vehicle will cope in typical traffic situations and analyse how other drivers will interact with a self-driving car on the road. It will also focus on the customer’s confidence in a self-driving car, and see how autonomous vehicles improve traffic efficiency, traffic environment, and road safety.
The project should also show how self-driving cars can enrich city life as they can lower emissions and therefore improve air quality and traffic safety. Overall, it will demonstrate how self-driving cars have the power to fundamentally change the way we look at driving cars. For instance, more time management behind the wheel means more time to relax and interact safely with your phone or tablet.
Hâkan Samuelsson, President and CEO 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. The public pilot represents an important step towards this goal.”
Mr Samuelsson also added that the project will “give [Volvo] an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as [they] get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.”
The project will commence in 2014, and the first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
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