STOCKHOLM, Sweden—The Volvo Car Group is launching an autonomous driving pilot project in its home nation of Sweden, where 100 self-driving care will hit public roads in the country’s south.
The automaker’s “Drive Me—Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” project will see the autonomous cars dispatched in the city of Gothenburg by 2017, where they will stick to approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads that are largely used as commuter arteries.
The project is a joint initiative between Volvo, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg and is endorsed by the Swedish government.
The aim of the program is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo as leaders in the development of future mobility.
“Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars’ as well as the Swedish government’s vision of zero traffic fatalities,” Volvo Cars president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement.
“This public pilot represents an important step towards this goal (and) it will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.”
The project will also include fully automated parking, without driver in the cars.
‘Drive Me’ will begin in 2014 and the first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
Recognizing that growing urbanization continues to put pressure on transportation systems in and around urban areas all over the world, Volvo said ‘Drive Me’ addresses the need to join forces in the quest for a sustainable society and mobility.
“Sweden has developed unique co-operation between the authorities, the industry and the academic community. This has resulted in a world-leading position in traffic safety,” Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd said.
“Autonomous vehicles and a smarter infrastructure will bring us another step closer to even safer traffic and an improved environment. It will also contribute to new jobs and new opportunities in Sweden.”
The 100 Volvo cars will be new models developed on the upcoming Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which is prepared for the continuous introduction of new support and safety systems all the way to technologies that enable highly autonomous drive.
First out will be the all-new Volvo XC90, which will be introduced in 2014.