Driverless Volvos Are Coming To California

Technology / Comments

'Ride Pilot' will soon become available on the brand's newest electric SUV.

Volvo has always been a company more interested in safety than anything else, and when you remember that the core principle of autonomous driving systems is to reduce deaths and injuries, not to prove technological superiority among your peers, then it makes sense to learn that the Swedish automaker is about to test its own version of the tech. This comes shortly after Volvo announced a huge investment in EV battery development as the automaker looks to replace the Volvo XC90 SUV with an electric alternative. That very vehicle will be the one to debut Volvo's autonomous driving tech, called Ride Pilot, but first, some testing.

Volvo
Volvo
Volvo

"We are proud to announce the planned US launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature, as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety," said Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars. "Having Zenseact's brand new AD software and Luminar's LiDAR standard in our new fully electric SUV is a game-changer for Volvo Cars, as well as for automotive safety and autonomous driving." Unlike Tesla, which switched to a software-only system, Volvo is using a combination of software and sensors. To test that these work as they should, Volvo has already been evaluating the system on Swedish roads and collecting data across Europe and the US, but by the middle of the year, the carmaker wants to begin testing on Californian roads "where the climate, traffic conditions and regulatory framework provide a favorable environment for the introduction of autonomous driving."

2020-2022 Volvo XC90 Driving Back View Volvo
2020-2022 Volvo XC90 Driving Front Angle Volvo
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Once the technology is verified as safe and approved, Volvo intends to launch Ride Pilot to Californian customers first, as part of an add-on subscription service, before gradually being rolled out in other markets and regions. With the addition of Luminar's LiDar sensor that complements five radars, eight cameras, and sixteen ultrasonic sensors in the as-yet-unnamed XC90 replacement, Volvo is promising to "democratize next-generation safety and autonomy." We look forward to seeing how successful Volvo will be, but if its track record is anything to go by, we wouldn't be surprised to hear that the Swedish company is the first to achieve true self-driving.

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