Volvo to test autonomous cars on roads in China
Volvo is already including semi-autonomous driving technologies in its cars, but the ultimate goal is full autonomy. In its pursuit of this, the Swedish carmaker has announced its intention to test autonomous cars on public roads in China.
Volvo believes that autonomous driving technology will allow traffic to move more smoothly, reducing congestion, journey times and pollution. In addition, it says it will allow us to make more valuable use of our time in cars. Most importantly, though, it believes such technology will vastly reduce accidents on the road. The automaker is aiming for for no-one to be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by 2020, by eliminating the human error that it cites as the cause of 90 percent of accidents.
"Autonomous driving can make a significant contribution to road safety," says president and chief executive of Volvo Håkan Samuelsson. "The sooner autonomous driving cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved."
The testing in China will, according to Volvo, be the country's "most advanced autonomous driving experiment." Up to 100 cars will be involved in the scheme, all operated by local drivers, and the cars will be tested on public roads in everyday driving conditions.
In the coming months, Volvo says it will negotiate with interested cities in China to see which can provide the required permissions, regulations and infrastructure. The locations of the testing will be decided subsequently.
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Once the manufacturers have agreed on a standard (including the map that the cars will operate to) cars could be built as 'autonomous ready' so that when the time comes to switch over to autonomous driving, the transfer can be properly managed. Road insurance rates would encourage adoption. Even the 'brmm, brmm' brigade might be persuaded to buy the autonomous driving package (set up as driver assistance initially) when it affects their wallets.