- Volvo will put 100 self-driving cars into the hands of "real customers" on public roads in Sweden in an ambitious new pilot project.
- The first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
- Volvo is pitching self-driving cars as a way to provide "more efficient time management behind the wheel."
GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Volvo continues its march toward self-driving cars with word on Monday that the Swedish automaker will put 100 autonomous cars into the hands of "real customers" on public roads in Sweden by 2017.
The 'Drive Me' project "will help define the role of self-driving vehicles in future city planning," Volvo said in a statement. "It will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads."
The project is an outgrowth of Volvo's Vision 2020, a pledge that "by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo." Volvo envisions cars taking the wheel because "driving behavior is a contributing factor in over 90 percent of all accidents."
Volvo did not specify which models would be part of the program, but said they will be developed on the company's upcoming Scalable Product Architecture or SPA. The first SPA model will be the new Volvo XC90, which launches in 2014.
The automaker said the self-driving cars used in the pilot program allow the driver to hand over the driving to the car "when the circumstances are appropriate."
"The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficiently comfortable transition time," Volvo said.
The project also includes fully automated parking, without a driver in the car. The vehicle finds a vacant spot and parks by itself.
Edmunds says: Volvo positions itself at the forefront of autonomous driving.