WINDHOEK – Volvo Cars presents a unique, complete system solution that makes it possible to integrate self-driving cars into real traffic – with ordinary people in the driver’s seat. The solution was presented last week via an interactive, online press conference.
As the Drive Me project enters its second year, Volvo Cars is moving rapidly towards the aim of placing 100 self-driving cars in the hands of customers on selected roads around Gothenburg by 2017. The public pilot, one-of-a-kind collaboration between legislators, transport authorities, a major city and a vehicle manufacturer, is a central component of Volvo Cars’ plan to achieve sustainable mobility and ensure a crash-free future.
Based on an extensive analysis of potential technical faults, Volvo Cars has designed a complete production-viable autonomous driving system. The key to making this unprecedented leap is a complex network of sensors, cloud-based positioning systems and intelligent braking and steering technologies.
Volvo Cars’ Autopilot system is designed to be reliable enough to allow the car to take over every aspect of driving in autonomous mode. The technology advances a crucial step beyond the automotive systems demonstrated so far since it includes fault-tolerant systems.
The main challenge is to design an Autopilot that is robust for traffic scenarios as well as for technical faults that may occur. It cannot be expected that the driver is ready to suddenly intervene in a critical situation. Initially, the cars will drive autonomously on selected roads with suitable conditions, for example without oncoming traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.
On the road, the complete technology solution shall handle even the most complicated scenarios, from smooth commuting to heavy traffic and emergency situations.
When autonomous driving is no longer available – due to exceptional weather conditions, technical malfunction or the end of the route has been reached – the driver is prompted by the system to take over again.
If the driver is incapacitated for any reason and does not take over in time, the car will bring itself to a safe place to stop.
In addition to simplifying people’s lives and transforming the everyday commute from lost time to quality time, self-driving cars create environmental benefits.
Volvo Cars expects that autonomous driving could cut fuel consumption. The technology could also improve traffic flow as well as open up possibilities for urban planning and more cost-efficient investments in infrastructure.