In view of its reputation as an industry leader for vehicle safety technology, it will come as little surprise to read that Volvo is also making great strides in the area of self-driving cars. The innovative Swedish manufacturer has been working behind the scenes to develop the technology for some time now, and plans to trial its pilot programme by 2017.
The real-world testing process will involve 100 volunteers, who will take to the roads of Gothenburg, Sweden to trial ‘highly automated’ vehicles. They will be asked to complete a range of tasks considered too dangerous to perform during normal driving, such as sending texts and taking pictures while the vehicle navigates the route itself.
To do so, each self-driving model will be fitted with long-range sensors which link up with a sophisticated computer system to give the vehicle a 360-degree view of its surroundings. A trifocal camera will also be built in to monitor the actions of pedestrians and detect obstacles. Initially the technology will be included within the S60 and V60 models, followed by the XC90 luxury SUV if it proves to be a success.
“Autonomous driving will fundamentally change the way the way we look at driving,” commented Volvo’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Dr Peters Mertens. “In the future, you will be able to choose between autonomous and active driving.”
The carmaker’s self-driving developments follow world-first innovations which make it one of the most progressive in the industry. The all-new XC90 will debut a safety package featuring a run off-road protection system which prepares the car for challenging terrain ahead. There’s also an auto brake feature, which stops the vehicle automatically should the driver pull out into the path of an oncoming car.
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