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Gothenburg, Sweden - Volvo's 'Drive Me' project - which will eventually have 100 autonomous Volvos driving themselves on public roads in everyday driving conditions - is underway, with the first view test cars already rolling around the automaker's home town.
Technical specialist Erik Coelingh said: "The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves. This is an important step towards our goal that the final 'Drive Me' cars will be able to drive the whole test route in autonomous mode."
“The technology, which will be called Autopilot, enables the driver to hand over the driving to the vehicle, which takes care of all driving functions."
What makes the 'Drive Me' project special is that it involves all the key players: legislators, transport authorities, a major city, a vehicle manufacturer and real customers.
The customers will drive the 100 cars in real-world driving conditions on about 50km of selected roads in and around Gothenburg, including freeways and traffic jams.
The project is a joint initiative between Volvo, the Swedish transport administration, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg, with backing from the Swedish government.
And it's not just about the cars, as Coelingh pointed out.
"This public pilot will give us a valuable insight into the benefits of making autonomous cars a natural part of the traffic environment," he said.
"Our smart vehicles are a key part of the solution, but a broader approach is vital for sustainable personal mobility in the future.
"This cross-functional co-operation is the key to making self-driving cars a success."