Volvo says it's close to fully autonomous driving

06 January 2022 - 18:06
By Motoring Reporter
Ride Pilot uses a complex system of cameras, radars and sensors, aided by intelligent software.
Image: Newspress USA Ride Pilot uses a complex system of cameras, radars and sensors, aided by intelligent software.

Volvo hopes to trial its unsupervised autonomous driving feature in California this year.

“Ride Pilot aims to free up more time for customers and make driving a Volvo even more convenient and enjoyable,” according to the company. “By using Ride Pilot, drivers will be able to free up time while driving, and spend it on secondary activities like reading, writing, working or socialising,” Volvo said.

It added: “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.”

Once it has been verified as safe for use on highways, Ride Pilot will be available as an add-on subscription on the company’s forthcoming fully electric sport-utility vehicle. This new flagship car will be revealed later this year.

On its next generation of cars, Volvo is preparing autonomous technologies that rely on over-the-air software updates in combination with more than two dozen sensors. Technology company Luminar is collaborating with Volvo on the latter.

While this software-sensor combination will be standard on the imminent flagship, Ride Pilot will be made available to customers only once it has gone through verification and testing. 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 is already testing autonomous driving functionalities on roads in Sweden with its software partner 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 favourable 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.

Ride Pilot implies what the driver can expect: when the car is driving on its own, Volvo takes responsibility for the driving.