Volvo Cars, along with leading automotive safety technology company, Autoliv, are collaborating on the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving initiative called Drive Me.
In 2017, the Drive Me project will make one hundred Volvo XC90 vehicles, fitted with the brand's new IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, available to families and commuters in Gothenburg, Sweden. This will be the first time that Autonomous Driving (AD) cars will be made available for use by the public and the cars will be driven autonomously on approximately 50 km of selected roads and once the project is completed, the system will then be introduced to the general public.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “We are delighted to welcome Autoliv to the Drive Me family. Autonomous driving will make our roads better and safer. The sooner we can develop the necessary technologies and start offering them in our cars the better.”
How Does The Volvo IntelliSafe AutoPilot Work?According to Volvo, the IntelliSafe Auto Pilot is “one of the industry’s most advanced and easy-to-use interfaces to oversee how drivers will transfer control to a car’s autonomous driving (AD) mode in its forthcoming cars.”
Volvo says it has designed the system to be as simple and intuitive as possible with autonomous mode being activated with specially designed paddles on the steering wheel.
When the driver enters a route where autonomous driving is possible, the car will alert the driver to indicate that Auto Pilot is ready and lights on the steering wheel paddles will flash. To activate Auto Pilot, the driver is required to pull both paddles at the same time. The lights on the paddles will then change to constant green, which confirms that Auto Pilot is engaged and that supervision has been delegated to the vehicle.
When autonomous driving is no longer available, the vehicle will initiate a 60 second countdown in which time the driver will have to take over control of the vehicle using the paddles. If the driver fails to take over after 60 seconds, the car will bring itself to a safe stop.
Thomas Ingenlath, SVP Design at Volvo Cars, said: “We have designed a user interface that is safe and seamless to use so that drivers can confidently transfer and regain control of the car.”
Volvo reports that over 90% of all fatal accidents are believed to be caused by human error and autonomous driving therefore has the potential to contribute to fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities.
“As automated driving cars evolve, human error will be significantly reduced and ultimately these cars will provide a new level of automotive safety”, said Jan Carlson, chairman, president and chief executive of Autoliv.