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Volvo previews self-driving interface

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot to take the helm in driverless Volvo XC90s

6 Oct 2015

VOLVO has entered the next phase of its self-driving future by revealing the interface for its IntelliSafe Auto Pilot autonomous driving system.

A three-minute video released by the Swedish car-maker shows the system in action on an XC90 SUV, but the technology will eventually be rolled out across the company's model range.

This is the latest update to Volvo's Drive Me project, which features 100 self-driving Volvos driving around the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden, in a trial of the company's autonomous driving tech.

The IntelliSafe system uses theXC90's instrument cluster to display progress and instructions to aid self-driving.

To locate the areas of road that are approved for autonomous driving, the driver must input a destination into the sat-nav system.

Then when entering a road approved for such driving, lights on the steering wheel paddles flash to advise the driver that the vehicle is ready for autonomous mode. Activating the autonomous mode is done by pulling both paddles simultaneously.

When two green bars meet in the centre of the instrument panel display, the paddle lights change to green and the Auto Pilot signals that the car has taken over driving responsibilities.

The driver can see how long they have left in an autonomous section of road via a countdown timer in the centre of the right dial. This advises the driver of how long they have to perform tasks using functions that are not usually available when the car is in motion.

Another display shows a 360-degree display of the area surrounding the vehicle to advise occupants of what is happening.

The driver gets a countdown when the autonomous driving area is coming to an end and if they do not take back control of the car via the paddles, the car will come to a safe stop on its own.

Volvo Cars senior vice president of design Thomas Ingenlath praised the interface for its ease of use.

“We have designed a user interface that is safe and seamless to use so that drivers can confidently transfer and regain control of the car.”

The IntelliSafe Auto Pilot is fitted to the 100 XC90s that are being made available as part of the Drive Me project in Gothenburg starting in 2017, with each of the self-driving SUVs offered to families and commuters in the city for use in “everyday driving conditions”.

Volvo, which is describing the Drive Me project as the “world's most ambitious AD (autonomous driving) project”, says that the SUVs will be driven on approximately 50km of selected roads in the Swedish city.

Daimler, Google, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Audi, BMW, Tesla and Renault-Nissan are all at different stages of developing autonomous cars.

Closer to home, the South Australian government has teamed up with Volvo and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB Group) for the country's first autonomous driving trials.

Volvo will provide a specially prepared XC90 for a number of controlled tests to asses the viability of self-driving vehicle technology on local roads, starting from November.

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