12.12.2017Volvo starts public autonomous driving trials
Members of the public will start testing autonomous cars from today, with Volvo providing cars to two Swedish families in the first phase of the project.
Both families will use a Volvo XC90 to support the Drive Me programme, with three more families added to the trials early next year. Over the next four years, up to 100 people will be involved in Drive Me.
Testing as part of the Drive Me project is due to reach London later in 2018, but the initial roll-out starts in Gothenburg, with the families set to feedback to Volvo engineers, who will also gather data from the car's trips.
Volvo intends to have fully autonomous cars commercially available by 2021, and already offers semi-autonomous driving systems on its newer models in the shape of the Pilot Assist package.
Those behind the wheel will test different stages of driver-only, driver assisted, and fully-autonomous driving. During the first stages, the drivers will keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
As things progress though, all Drive Me participants will be gradually introduced to more advanced assisted driving cars, with special training provided. Volvo says that even then, testing the more advanced cars will initially take place in controlled environments with supervision from a safety expert. No technology will ever be introduced if there is any question over its safety.