Luminar LiDAR highway perception
Luminar LiDAR highway perception

Volvos launched from 2022 will have hardware for fully autonomous driving

By Jason Woosey Time of article published May 6, 2020

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Gothenburg, Sweden - Volvo’s next-generation of cars will come with roof-mounted Lidar technology that will allow for full autonomous driving functionality to be activated as soon as it becomes legal in various countries, including South Africa.

Volvo Cars announced on Wednesday that it had teamed up with tech firm Luminar to create Volvo’s first fully self-driving technology for highways, which will feature on the Swedish carmaker’s next-generation SPA 2 modular vehicle architecture from 2022 onwards.

The Luminar LiDAR systems will be “seamlessly integrated” into the roof of the car, Volvo said, and will be hardware-ready for autonomous driving, as Volvo Car South Africa MD Greg Maruszewski explains.

"We know that the question on the lips of South Africans is whether or not this technology will be available to use on South African roads," Maruszewski said.

"The cars will be produced 'hardware-ready' for autonomous drive. This means that the car can become autonomous when legislation in South Africa is ready. 

“The Luminar technology will be integrated from production start in 2022 as an option and we expect to see these cars available for purchase in South Africa sometime thereafter."

Luminar roofline Lidar integration

These future models using the SPA 2 architecture will be updated with software over the air, including the aforementioned Highway Pilot system that will allow for fully autonomous freeway driving.

Volvo and Luminar are also looking at how Lidar could improve advanced driver assistance systems.

Lidar sensors emit millions of pulses of laser light to detect the location and proximity of objects by scanning the surroundings in 3D. 

The two companies believe that cameras and radar alone are not capable of providing a reliable enough perception to ensure safe autonomous driving. Volvo’s Highway Pilot feature will combine these systems with Lidar.

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