Despite Google’s self-driving car consuming most of the headlines, several different car manufacturers are also working to create their own autonomous vehicles. One such manufacturer being Volvo.
On Monday, Volvo, a Swedish-based car company publicised the launch of their pilot project “Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” which will place 100 autonomous Volvo cars into busy city streets. The project will be situated on roughly 50 kilometers of roads in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“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,” Erik Coelingh, Volvo technical specialist stated. “Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users.”
The main aim behind the “Drive Me” project is to target societal benefits of self-driving autonomous vehicles and to gain a head start as the leader in this field. Another objective is to increase road safety, a goal Volvo has been working on for some time in a programme called “20/20 Vision”.
The self-driving automobiles to be used in “Drive Me” are described as “highly autonomous cars” meaning that the vehicle can handle all driving functions the driver would depend on, save for a few situational scenarios which are more difficult. The automobiles will also be able to park itself, without the driver even being in the car! The first model of the self-driving cars will be unveiled in 2014 and will be known as the all-new Volvo XC90.
Google has been at the forefront of developing self-driving technology for the past few years, and is now hoping to partner with car manufacturers. All the while, several automobile manufacturers such as Audi, Cadillac, Toyota, Ford and more have been delving into certain aspects of autonomous driving. For example, certain cars can now park themselves at the push of a button.
Volvo’s “Drive Me” project is expected 2014, but the ETA of the first cars on the road isn’t until 2017.
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