Volvo Cars Rolls Out “Drive Me” Self-Driving Car Project In Gothenburg (Sweden)

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Volvo Cars has launched a new self-driving vehicle development program in Gothenburg, Sweden dubbed “Drive Me.” The program will provide participants with Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrids outfitted with the company’s newest driver-assistance tech. The vehicles will also be packed with various cameras and sensors to monitor driver behavior.

As the program progresses, participants will be provided with ever advanced assisted-driving cars (and provided with accompanying training on use). Much of the purpose of the program is to provide researchers with the data generated during real-world use — which makes for an interesting comparison with Tesla’s approach to self-driving vehicle development data collection (remote shadow collection of relevant data from essentially its whole fleet).

Initially, the new program will feature involvement of two families located in the Gothenburg area, the Hains and the Simonovskis. Participation from 3 more families will follow in early 2018, and up to 100 further participants will follow over the next 4 years.

As a reminder, Volvo Cars is aiming to commercially offer a self-driving car solution by 2021 — just ~3 years from now.

Commenting on the launch of the program, program participant Alex Hain commented: “It feels great to be a part of this project. We get the chance to be part of developing technology that will one day save lives.”

“During these first stages, the families will keep their hands on the steering wheel and supervise the driving at all times when using their cars. But, over time, all participants in the Drive Me project will gradually be introduced to more advanced assisted-driving cars, after receiving special training,” the press release states.

“Even then, testing these more advanced cars will initially take place in controlled environments with supervision from a Volvo Cars safety expert. No technology will ever be introduced if there is any question over its safety.

“The Hain family comprises Alex and Paula (45 years old), and their daughters Filippa (17) and Smilla (14). The Hains were the first people chosen to take part in Drive Me earlier this year. They are now joined by Sasko Simonovski (44) and his wife Anna (41), and their children Elin (10) and Villiam (8). Additional families will be added as the project progresses.”

It’s probably a program worth keeping an eye on. If Volvo Cars is going to achieve its goal of bringing a fully autonomous car to market by 2021, then development will need to be pretty swift.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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