Volvo Car Group, the Swedish automobile producer, has announced their plan to release a self-driving car by 2021. Development of an autonomous car is an ambition of many car producers, Volvo’s main competition being BMW, Tesla and other major players in the industry.
Volvo’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, said in an interview with Bloomberg News that
“It’s our ambition to have a car that can drive fully autonomously on the highway by 2021.”
Their first step is to start testing vehicle with advanced self-driving technology next year in London, in China and Gothenburg, Sweden. They will eventually release around 100 test cars with ordinary drivers in each country.
Volvo’s goal and overall hopes are that no individual will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car by 2020. To reach this target, they are in need of new driving technologies, including advanced autonomous features. Samuelsson has said that “this technology is something as car maker you cannot develop by yourself.”
One of their main competitors, BMW, which have recently announced their plans for a self-driving car, are collaborating with tech-giant Intel and software maker Mobileye; while Volvo is still looking for partners to develop the required technology and cloud infrastructure.
A similar announcement has been made by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, and if the rumors regarding Apple’s Project Titan are true, then they too plan to release a self-driving car by 2021. The competition for who will be the first to release a fully autonomous car for consumers is increasing by each passing month.
The recent fatal crash of a Tesla Model S while on autopilot mode, currently under investigation by both the producer and authorities, hasn’t given much pause to the plans of other companies. Volvo and BMW have emphasized the safety benefits of autonomous features. Samuelsson added that the release of self-driving cars within five years would also require laws and regulations to keep up with technological advances.
Fortunately enough, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced plans to release a set of guidelines on cyber security for the automotive industry in coming weeks, as hacking of future self-driving cars is a major concern.
Are you looking forward to the release of self-driving cars? How concerned are you about their overall safety?
Image credit: Volvo