Back in 2013, Volvo announced their plans to test out a large scale self-driving pilot program which will see multiple vehicles driving themselves around the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Well it looks like that program has recently kicked off and the first thing on Volvo’s list is to test how cars tackle merging into other lanes as well as braking in traffic and adapting their speed.
The “Drive Me” program will eventually see 100 self-driving cars by Volvo hit the roads where they will traverse approximately 50km worth of public roads and commuter routes by the year 2017, but for now we can only imagine that Volvo will start off small before gradually increasing the number of cars over the next few years.
According to a technical specialist at Volvo, Eric Coelingh, “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 aim that the final Drive Me cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.”
Given that humans are unpredictable, especially on the road since cars can suddenly swerve and change lanes without any warning, not to mention there are inconsiderate drivers who change lanes without signalling or braking too hard, this will indeed prove to be a challenge. It also means that drivers in the self-driving cars will still need to pay attention, lest they get into an accident.
Volvo will be joining others such as Google and Nissan at creating self-driving cars. However we reckon it’s still quite a long way to go before they’re deemed safe enough for the population, but in the meantime what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to self-driving cars, or is driving one of the many pleasures in life?