One family will get the chance to drive around Sweden in full-autonomy.
Volvo is rolling out its autonomous program slowly but surely, hoping to have a "full autopilot" option on all of its cars by 2021. In the first of what we can only assume to be many initial testing phases, the company has given one family in Gothenburg, Sweden, the chance to experience that full autonomy firsthand.
The Hain Family will take part in the real-life autonomous drive research program. It will involve real cars in real traffic situations. Volvo’s unique approach hopes to "define the technology based on the role of the driver – not the other way around."
The Drive Me Project consists of a number of different companies working together with a goal to develop the most advanced and extensive real-life autonomous drive project available today. All said and done, the project hopes to have as many as 100 autonomous cars on the road in and around Gothenburg, Sweden, London, and China by 2021, driven by real people like the Hain family.
"We want to learn more around how people feel when they engage and disengage autonomous drive, what the handover should be like, and what sort of things they would do in the car when it’s driving them to their destination," said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.
The autopilot technology uses an existing version of the Pilot Assist system available on cars like the XC90, S90, and V90. A series of cameras and a front-mounted Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors enables to car to drive itself completely with no human interference.
The project is still in the early stages, but Volvo hopes the knowledge learned will allow it to introduce its first fully autonomous car to consumers by 2021.