Volvo plans China autonomous car experiment

| Transport

Volvo Drive Me autonomous test vehicle

Up to 100 Volvo autonomous cars could soon by being driven on Chinese roads as part of a safe driving experiment being planned by the Swedish manufacturer.

The most advanced autonomous driving experiment ever undertaken in China is being planned by Volvo with the automotive giant envisioning up to 100 cars being used on the country’s roads once it has concluded negotiations on achieving the correct infrastructure and permissions from key cities.

The vision that Volvo has for its autonomous driving programme is to improve safety as well as reduce congestion and pollution. It also believes that drivers will benefit from the ability to use their time in their cars more valuably as a result of advanced autonomy.

With a focus on the company’s long-held reputation for advanced safety and a commitment to safer roads worldwide, Volvo’s president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson commented, “Autonomous driving can make a significant contribution to road safety and the sooner autonomous cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”

Whilst welcoming the positive steps that China has already taken in the development of driverless cars, Mr Samuelsson is nonetheless encouraging it to do more to try and speed up the implementation of the regulations that will oversee autonomous driving cars in future.

“There are multiple benefits to autonomous cars,” said Mr Samuelsson. “That is why governments need to put in place the legislation to allow them onto the streets as soon as possible. The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need government help.”

Safety, congestion, pollution and the saving of time are the four key benefits that China will see with the introduction of autonomous cars with independent research having revealed that autonomy has the potential to reduce the number of car accidents very significantly, since up to 90% of all accidents are caused by human error, something that disappears with driverless cars.

Congestion can also be reduced significantly since the technology promotes smoother vehicular movement and a reduction in traffic jams. Moving towards the elimination of congestion also cuts dangerous emissions and reduces associated pollution.

Mr Samuelsson will welcome moves by regulators and car makers in the US and Europe to develop AD cars and infrastructure, but he will also encourage all the parties involved to work more constructively together to avoid patchwork global regulations, technological duplication and needless expense.

According to Mr Samuelsson, autonomy isn’t just about car technology, it is also about getting the right rules and laws in place. Seeing the automotive industry and regulators working together as being a natural step, Mr Samuelsson concluded, “Our starting point is that both the public and private sectors stand to benefit from new technologies and industries, so it is better to build bridges and work together than to all go in different directions.”

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