Technological advances have made it possible for a vehicle to run without a driver, but is a driverless future actually desirable? Volvo says that making vehicles more autonomous is perhaps not a question of excluding drivers, but rather of emphasizing their importance.
According to Traffic Technology International, the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project would involve 100 Volvo driverless cars on the road of Gothenburg in 2017. The cars will drive in the public roads and under everyday driving conditions. The pilot project will also include a fully automated parking, which will allow the driver to walk away from the car at a parking entrance, while the vehicle finds a vacant spot to park by itself. Volvo’s aim is to demonstrate the benefits, including improved safety and efficiency of self-driving cars.
Traffic Technology International confirmed that the project is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen), Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The pilot project has also been endorsed by the Swedish Government.
President and CEO of the Volvo Car Group, Håkan Samuelsson says “Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars’ as well as the Swedish government’s vision of zero traffic fatalities”. He also stressed that the project will give them an insight into the technological challenges and at the same time they will be able to get valuable feedback from real customers when the cars drive on public roads.
Erik Coelingh, the technical specialist at Volvo on his own part explained that, one of their aims is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe spot if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control.
The project will start in 2014 with customer research and technology development, including development of user interface and cloud functionality.
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