Volvo is planning an extensive autonomous driving trial in the United Kingdom. The automaker wants to expedite global autonomous technology it says will reduce accidents, calm congested roads, cut emissions, and save drivers time.
Proponents point to an increase in safety, and Volvo has built much of their legacy on that, especially with things like the first three point safety belt. Volvo continues to advocate autonomous driving as part of its Vision 2020 initiative, stating nobody will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by that time.
“Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Cars. “The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”
Drive Me London will begin in early 2017 with a limited number of semi-autonomous cars and expand in 2018 to include up to 100 autonomous cars.
It will be the largest testing program on Britain’s streets.
Volvo will gather data from everyday families, driving as they normally would on their daily routine. That data will be further used to develop autonomous vehicles. Thatcham Research will provide data analysis and other professional drivers as needed. Samuelsson is expected to make further comments at a seminar sponsored by Volvo and Thatcham on May 3rd.
Independent research shows autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly cut the number of car accidents. Additional research from NHTSA predicts by 2035, crashes will be reduced by 80% through the use of autonomous cars. Up to 90 percent of all accidents are presently caused by driver error or distraction.
“That is why governments globally need to put in place the legislation and infrastructure to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible,” Samuelsson said. “The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need governmental help.”
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*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.