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Volvo Prepares Autonomous Cars for Real-World Situations

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/19/2015 Kelly Pleskot
Volvo Prepares Autonomous Cars for Real-World Situations

Volvo has made exceptional advances in autonomous driving technology, having succeeded with autonomous car convoys, self-parking cars, and magnetic roadway tests. Now Volvo has outlined a plan to introduce autonomous cars to real-world customers in real-world driving situations.

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For example, what happens when a seemingly infallible system fails? What is a driver to do when a technical malfunction or extreme weather situation renders autonomous driving inaccessible? Or what if a driver becomes suddenly ill and unable to operate a car? Volvo has answered these questions by implementing a number of safeguards into its autonomous cars.

volvo-autonomous-driving-in-traffic© Provided by MotorTrend volvo-autonomous-driving-in-traffic

If a key component such as the brakes fails, for instance, the self-driving vehicle should have a second independent system that wouldn't require a driver to suddenly take back control of the car.

"Making this complex system 99 percent reliable is not good enough. You need to get much closer to 100 per cent before you can let self-driving cars mix with other road users in real-life traffic,” said Volvo Technical Specialist Erik Coelingh in a recent release.

In other emergency situations where autonomous driving may not be safe, a driver would be prompted to operate the vehicle, and if the driver became suddenly incapacitated, the car would guide itself toward a safe place to stop.

To operate independently of a driver, Volvo's autonomous cars comes with high-definition 3D maps, GPS positioning systems, long-range radars, and a number of sensors and cameras to determine the location of other cars on the road. Cloud services are linked to a traffic control center for reliable up-to-date traffic information.

By 2017, Volvo plans on bringing autonomous cars to the public on select roads around Gothenburg, Sweden. And by 2020, Volvo says it wants to end all deaths and injuries in its new cars, and perhaps this goal will be more easily accessible with the prevalence of autonomous driving technology.

Source: Volvo

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