Currently reading: Volvo to launch new self-driving trials
Volvo is aiming to send 100 self-driving cars out with customers, for testing on public roads, by 2017

Volvo intends to test 100 self-driving cars on public roads as part of a trial in 2017.

The trial will involve customers taking part in Volvo XC90s. The SUVs will feature a series of technologies that will allow them to 'read' the road around them and react to other cars and pedestrians.

Volvo says that there is more in the way of back-up systems in the cars that will be used for the trials, with independent systems being used to bring the car to a safe stop if any element becomes disabled for any reason. It would also be able to identify faults, such as a tyre blowout, and bring the car to a safe halt.

The cars will use a combination of radars, cameras and laser sensors, several of which are available in the new XC90 already. The car will also interact with GPS satellite systems that will be used to pick the best route for the car.

These include a radar system and a camera in the windscreen - also in the new XC90 - that will read traffic signs, assess the curvature of the road and detect cars and pedestrians. There are radar systems on the four corners of the car, which inform the car of the location of signs, poles or tunnels, while four cameras also monitor the car's perimeter.

A laser is placed low on the front of the car, and scans the road up to 150m ahead to identify objects directly in the car's path. A camera placed on the top of the windscreen also scans the road ahead, and can identify pedestrians and other unexpected hazards. This has three cameras in one, with three different widths of view.

The trials will take place around Gothenburg, and Volvo will start the recruiting process for the owners in 2016. Although the details will be confirmed closer to the launch, Volvo says the cars will be leased to the customers. The trials are anticipated to last until 2019, and Volvo has said that 2020 is a "realistic target" for production vehicles.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Join the debate

Add a comment…
xxxx 20 February 2015

To the non-luddites out there

How much would you be prepared to pay for this 'extra'? Bearing in mind parking assist is about £600'ish
Walking 20 February 2015

Tip of the iceberg

Autonomous driving is on it's way the wider implications and design potential seem less well covered.

When this does happen:

Does car ownership make sense do most people drive more than an hour a day. Why own a car

The liability will have to pass to car manufactures. Ya end of car insurance. The list is extensive affecting, ownership, employment and legislation.

On the design side if there is no human driver the current car design no longer makes sense. Particularly internally I'm thinking more train carriage, theatre and entertainment systems. Add into this EV with integrated chassis a whole new design opportunity opens up. When will we see a blank sheet EV autonomous car design?

androo 20 February 2015

Bring it on

All you have to do to convince yourself self-driving cars are a good idea is watch the Russian dash-cam videos on YouTube. Then it becomes clear, if it isn't already, that humans re not fit to be driving cars. That's why two million of us die on the roads every year worldwide. The sooner all cars drive themselves the better.

People forget that aeroplanes already 'drive' themselves, and have for many years. As do Tube trains. If you trust a 747 to land itself in fog, surely you can trust a little car to take you to the shops.