Volvo Cars’ unsupervised autonomous driving feature Ride Pilot to debut in California; available in coming electric SUV
Volvo Cars will introduce its unsupervised autonomous driving feature Ride Pilot to customers in the state of California first. By building on an industry-leading safety standard that will feature in Volvo Cars’ next generation of pure electric cars, Ride Pilot aims to free up more time for customers and make driving a Volvo even more convenient and enjoyable.
Once it has been verified as safe for use on highways, Ride Pilot is planned to be available as an add-on subscription on the company’s forthcoming fully electric SUV. This new flagship car for the company will be revealed later this year.
On its next generation of cars, Volvo Cars is setting a new standard for safety, with over-the-air software updates in combination with a state-of-the-art sensor set-up. The software is developed by autonomous driving (AD) software company Zenseact together with Volvo Cars’ in-house team of developers, and developers from Luminar, one of its technology partners.
The sensor set-up consists of more than two dozen sensors, including Luminar’s Iris LiDAR sensor, which work with the developed software.
While this software-sensor combination, and the safety it enables, will be standard, available from day one on Volvo Cars’ forthcoming fully electric SUV and improve over time, Ride Pilot will only be made available to customers once it has gone through Volvo Cars’ verification and testing protocol. This includes validation of the technology as safe for use on highways in a number of varying conditions.
As part of this verification process, Volvo Cars is already testing autonomous driving functionalities on roads in Sweden together with Zenseact, and collecting data across Europe and the US. By the middle of this year, the company intends to begin testing on roads in California, where the climate, traffic conditions and regulatory framework provide a favorable environment for the introduction of autonomous driving.
Once it has been verified as safe and all necessary approvals have been secured, the company’s ambition is to introduce Ride Pilot in California first, before gradually rolling out in other markets and regions around the globe.
By using Ride Pilot, drivers will be able to free up time while driving, and spend it on secondary activities such as reading, writing, working or socializing. The feature can also help drivers arrive at their destination rested and recharged, by reducing the mental strain that may come with driving, especially in traffic jams or heavy traffic.
Luminar’s LiDAR sensor will complement five radars, eight cameras and sixteen ultrasonic sensors in Volvo Cars’ upcoming fully electric SUV. This standard sensor set-up provides excellent vision and perception reliability. Together with continuous, over-the-air software rollouts the system will ensure full redundancy and enable Volvo Cars to achieve safe autonomous driving with Ride Pilot.