GOTHENBURG, Sweden - 100 self-driving cars are about to be set free on Swedish roads in the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving project.
The project, ‘Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility’, is a joint initiative by Volvo, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg and has been endorsed by the Swedish government.
The aim is to determine the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo as leaders in the development of future mobility.
‘ZERO TRAFFIC DEATHS’
President and CEO of Volvo, Hakan Samuelsson, said: “Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars as well as the Swedish government’s vision for zero traffic deaths. This public pilot is an important step towards this goal and will give us an insight into technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from customers driving on public roads.”
the project will use about 50km of roads, typical commuter arteries, and freeways.
Volvo technical specialist Erik Coelingh said: “Our aim is for the cars to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by themselves, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe ‘harbour’ if the driver is for any reason unable to regain control."
The Drive Me project will focus on a number of areas, among them:
• How autonomous vehicles bring societal and economic benefits by improving traffic efficiency and road safety.
• Infrastructure requirements for autonomous driving.
• Typical traffic situations suitable for autonomous vehicles.
• Customer confidence in autonomous vehicles.
• How road users react to self-driving cars.
The project will start in 2014 with customer research, technology development as well as the development of a user interface. The first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
The project will see the cars complete a number of tasks such as automated parking, without a driver present. The aim is leave a car at the entrance to a parking garage and allow it to find a vacant spot and park itself.