2017 Volvo XC90 to have Pilot Assist II semi-autonomous driving as standard

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Pilot Assist II adds steering assistance to adaptive cruise control, creating a semi-autonomous highway driving system that controls acceleration, braking, and steering to follow traffic flow within the lane on well-marked highways(Credit: Volvo)

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Volvo's updates to the already new XC90 in 2017 will include its latest step towards autonomous driving – Pilot Assist II. This will be standard equipment on the SUV in selected markets and will be mirrored on the S90 sedan.

Pilot Assist II adds steering assistance to adaptive cruise control, creating a semi-autonomous highway driving system that – like Tesla's Autopilot system – controls acceleration, braking, and steering to follow traffic flow within the lane on well-marked highways. The system can operate at speeds up to 81 mph (120 km/h) and does not require a lead car as have other Volvo systems in development.

The driver can override the system anytime, of course, by simply deactivating cruise control (with the brake or cancel/off button) or by accelerating or turning the steering wheel. Letting go of the steering wheel for a few seconds also deactivates the system. To change lanes, however, using the turn signal and wheel to make the lane change does not override Pilot Assist II.

Other new additions to the XC90 for model year 2017 include PowerPulse for the diesel variant. This is designed to eliminate the turbo drag found in most diesel engines by adding an electric compressor and pressurized two-liter air tank to the powertrain. Fresh air coming into the vehicle via its air filter is compressed and stored in the tank. When the throttle is pressed for fast acceleration, the compressed air is released into the exhaust manifold to quickly spool the turbo for immediate boosting.

Also added is a new update for Volvo's City Safety. This standard collision avoidance system, which includes pedestrian and small vehicle (bicycle) avoidance, is now updated to include large animals.

Every update being made to the 2017 XC90 will also appear in the S90 sedan and V90 wagon.

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