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Volvo’s self-parking prototype

Volvo builds self-steering concept car ahead of technology’s debut in the next XC90

21 Jun 2013

VOLVO has revealed a version of its S60 wagon that makes finding a car park as simple as pushing an icon on your smartphone.

The concept car uses what Volvo says is autonomous parking, using an array of sensors around the S60 to detect other cars, pedestrians, and even an empty parking spot, and then nose into it.

“The technology relieves the driver of the time-consuming task of finding a vacant parking space,” Volvo said in a statement.

“The driver just drops the vehicle off at the entrance to the car park and picks it up later.

“The self-parking car uses sensors to localise and navigate to a free parking space,” it said.

“Volvo Cars' smart, driverless car also interacts safely and smoothly with other cars and pedestrians in the car park.”

A video posted by the Chinese-owned Swedish car-maker shows the S60 navigating a car park crowded with other Volvo models, and dummies of people that slide out in front of the S60 to demonstrate how it “sees” people.

There’s a catch, though, because instead of hopping out at the office door, the driver has to remain behind the wheel while the automated hunt for a parking space happens. However, Volvo has hinted the technology could evolve to the point where the car is left at the entrance to a car park to find its own spot, returning to the entrance at the press of a smartphone icon.

Volvo has flagged that the updated XC90 seven-seat SUV, due next year, will be the first model to feature an autonomous steering system.

Volvo is developing several autonomous driving technologies, including “platooning” where a line of cars will automatically follow a lead vehicle, allowing the “towed” drivers to perform other tasks.

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