Volvo has no plans to introduce fully autonomous cars in urban areas in the future, saying it believes the partial system it is close to bringing to market is preferable.
“We have no ambition to have a car that could drive in urban environments from A to B,” company CEO Håkan Samuelsson said at the unveiling of the new 40-series concepts recently. “If you’re a normal consumer, is that really what you are dreaming about? We believe more that in a situation where it’s not really fun to drive, you can switch on the autopilot and then sit back and do something else, using that time more productively. That is the product we are developing.”
Volvo will begin a wide-scale trial of its Intellisafe Autopilot next year, with 100 XC90s equipped with the system being driven on Swedish roads. The company also recently announced that it will be testing the system in the UK next year with a smaller programme in London.
While other manufacturers have said drivers will retain at least partial responsibility for anything that happens when the car is in charge, Samuelsson also said Volvo is determined to stand behind its system. “If you want to be in that market, you have to take that liability,” said Samuelsson. “If you’re not ready to do that then you must do something else. Volvo would not market something you can switch on and then relax if it’s not a redundant system which is absolutely safe and secure.”