Automaker will have similar tests in China and Sweden
Volvo is committed to making autonomous driving technology a significant part of the automotive landscape by 2020. The automaker says one of the biggest challenges it faces in meeting that goal is the struggle facing lawmakers (from both the European Union and the United States) to develop a cohesive set of rules for autonomous technology. Volvo hopes to assist in that process by extensive testing, including an ambitious plan to launch no fewer than 100 autonomous test vehicles on London’s public roads.
The plan is an extension of its “Drive Me” project already underway in Sweden and China. Volvo is slated to launch 100 autonomous XC90 crossovers on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden, next year and is planning to do something similar in London by 2018. Prior to that, Volvo will test a number of semi-autonomous vehicles on London roads next year. Volvo says the “Drive Me London” project will be the most extensive autonomous driving test in Britain and will include families, which should help provide more realistic feedback compared to the data it has collected from closed test facilities and engineers.
Volvo says autonomous driving will is key in reducing congestion, travel time, and accidents. It claims up to 90 percent of vehicle accidents are caused by driver error and can be completely eliminated by self-driving cars. The automaker is fully committed to the technology. In fact, it has already promised it will accept full liability for any crashes involving its self-driving cars (traveling in autonomous mode).
But before it can make that commitment, it says governments around the world need to create proper legislation and infrastructure for autonomous cars. “The car industry cannot do it all by itself,” said Volvo CEOHkan Samuelsson, in a statement. “We need governmental help.”
Volvo recently joined a group of automakers and ride-sharing companies to help influence autonomous-driving laws in the North America. Called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, the group’s goal is to avoid a confusing patchwork of state laws in favor of cohesive legislation at the federal level.