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Virtual Volvo drivers to take to Swedish streets

Swede ride: Volvo’s next generation of vehicles will be included in a real-world test of self-driving technology.

Gothenburg to trial a fleet of 100 self-driving Volvos

3 Dec 2013

VOLVO is the latest car-maker to confirm it wants to trial self-driving vehicles, announcing a fleet of 100 autonomous cars will soon feel their way through the streets of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The European luxury car-maker has set itself an ambitious goal of reducing the chances of Volvo drivers being killed in a car crash to zero by 2020, with autonomous vehicles a key factor in reducing risks that cause them.

To help it achieve that goal, the Volvo has announced real-world trials in yet-to-be-announced new models, starting from 2017 and using selected roads around Gothenburg, to test a number of features that it hopes will help semi-intelligent cars create a picture of what is around them.

According to the Volvo, the “Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” project will also tap the resources of the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg.

It aims to explore the benefits of autonomous driving to society, as well as give Volvo an important leg up in the race to develop a self-driving vehicle.

“The vehicles in the pilot project are defined as highly autonomous cars, according to the official definition by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) in Germany,” Volvo said in a statement announcing the trials.

“In practical terms this means that the responsibility is handed over to the vehicle, which can handle all driving functions at the driver’s discretion. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficiently comfortable transition time.”

Volvo confirmed the cars would be new models developed on the company’s upcoming Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).

“The architecture is prepared for the continuous introduction of new support and safety systems all the way to technologies that enable highly autonomous drive,” the company said.

“The first SPA model will be the all-new Volvo XC90, which will be introduced in 2014.”

Volvo said the autonomous car project would also trial its self-parking feature, where drivers can leave their vehicle at the entrance of a car park and call it back when they return.

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