Volvo Car Group’s project ”Drive Me”—with 100 self-driving Volvos on public roads in everyday driving conditions (earlier post)—is moving forward. The first test cars are already rolling around the Swedish city of Gothenburg, with the Autopilot technology performing well, according to the company.
The vehicles in the pilot project are defined as Highly Autonomous Cars, according to the official definition by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) in Germany. The responsibility is handed over to the vehicle, which can handle all driving functions at the driver’s discretion. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficiently comfortable transition time. (Comparable to US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Level 3 automation, earlier post.)
The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves. This is an important step towards our aim that the final ‘Drive Me’ cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode. The technology, which will be called Autopilot, enables the driver to hand over the driving to the vehicle, which takes care of all driving functions.—Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group
The Drive Me project involves all key players: legislators, transport authorities, a major city, a vehicle manufacturer and real customers. The customers will drive the 100 cars in everyday driving conditions on approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) of selected roads in and around Gothenburg. These roads are typical commuter arteries, including motorway conditions and frequent queues.
“Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The Swedish Government is endorsing the project.