Volvo has announced its autonomous driving technology is going to be available as optional equipment and will cost somewhere in the region of $10,000.
Speaking with reporters last week during the Global Mobility Leadership Forum near Detroit, company CEO Hakan Samuelsson shed some light about Volvo’s plans as far as driverless cars are concerned. He described the option of having fully autonomous driving tech as a method to push the brand’s models more upmarket and make the “premium car even more premium.”
The man in charge at the Geely-owned marque reconfirmed Volvo’s plans to introduce a driverless car in 2021 and went on to specify it will still have a steering wheel for when the person behind it will want to take manual control of the vehicle. In autonomous mode, the “full autopilot” system as it’s being described by Samuelsson, is not going to be a “supervised version,” so in order words it will do all the work while those inside will be able to “sit back and watch a movie or whatever.”
To have the technology ready by 2021 and offer it as a $10,000 option, Volvo has kicked off its Drive Me autonomous car experiment with the introduction of an autonomous XC90. All cars part of the program are going to be in the hands of real people as a way to obtain feedback regarding the functionality of self-driving tech and to get a better understanding of what those inside the cabin are doing while the cars are in autonomous mode.
Drive Me is basically an evolution of the existing Pilot Assist system available in the company’s latest products such as the XC90, S90, and V90. It adds a series of cameras and a front-mounted Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor to enable the car effectively drive itself without the necessity of human input.
During the first phase of the experiment, Drive Me will take place in select areas in Gothenburg, Sweden. Further down the line, Volvo will test autonomous cars in London starting with 2017, while some cities in parent company’s home country China are also on the list.
To reach its bold objective, Volvo is collaborating with automotive supplier Autoliv to work on the software. At the same time, it also has a $300-million partnership with Uber to develop a fleet of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles based on the Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) platform, which has underpinned the 90 Series models.
Source: Volvo via autonews.com