Volvo's self-driving cars will take to the public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017 in a joint initiative between the carmaker and various agencies of the Swedish government.
As the world's first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project, the "Drive Me" program aims to pinpoint the "societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility."
"Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo's as well as the Swedish government's vision of zero traffic fatalities," said Volvo Car Group president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson. "This public pilot represents an important step toward this goal. It will give us an insight into the technological challenges as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads."
Work on the project will begin in 2014 starting with customer research and technology development, as well as the development of a user interface and cloud functionality. The project's first cars are then expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
According to the carmaker, the pilot program will involve 100 self-driving Volvo cars using approximately 50km of selected public roads in and around Gothenburg "in everyday driving conditions."
"Our aim is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe harbor if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control," added Volvo Car Group technical specialist Erik Coelingh.
Volvo added that the 100 vehicles will be new models developed using the company's new Scalable Product Architecture platform, which the all-new XC90--due to go on sale in 2014--will be based on.