The Swedish manufacturer Volvo’s ambitious trial of 100 “highly autonomous cars” navigating the real driving conditions of public roads is now underway. The first stage of the Drive Me project, announced in December, is currently taking place in and around the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Also Read - Intel to buy urban transit company Moovit to boost autonomous driving experience
“The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves,” outlined Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group. It’s a key step towards the cars’ functioning on an even more autonomous level through Volvo’s Autopilot technology, which aims to allow the driver to hand over the driving to the vehicle, which takes care of all driving functions. Also Read - Apple patent for autonomous car details voice, gesture and touch-based interactions
The Drive Me project is a joint initiative between Volvo, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, the Lindholmen Scientific Park and the city of Gothenburg. The trials mark another step towards the development of entirely autonomous cars for serial production by 2020. Earlier this year, Volvo announced an innovative project that involved placing magnets under roads to help self-driving cars determine their position among lanes, thus keeping them from running off the roads or into each other. Also Read - New study focuses on who a driverless car should save in an accident
The solution could also be used to make lanes narrower, Volvo suggests, or to alert winter maintenance crews to the presence of snow-covered objects on the roads. Volvo has been involved in the development of 100 percent self-driving vehicles for several years now. The car maker participated in the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), developed an automated parking solution and is one of around 20 European manufacturers taking part in the AdaptIVe project (Automated Driving Applications & Technologies for Intelligent Vehicles).