Volvo is hoping to put its money where its mouth is, in the very near future. The Swedish car manufacturer told Tech Insider its autonomous systems will have the capabilities and safety features to be able to operate without driver supervision by the year 2020. This prediction differs from those of many other auto companies who have promised semi-autonomous vehicles (cars in which the driver still needs to pay attention to the road), in the same time frame.
Volvo is using Nvidia’s GPU-based “Deep-Learning” system with its “DriveMe” program, which will be launched in London, Gothenburg, Sweden, and a handful of cities in China, by 2017. Families who wish to participate in the program will be asked to drive the Volvos in varying road and traffic conditions, as well as different terrains. During their drive, the Deep-Learning system will be able to capture data and sync it with the software, allowing the vehicle to learn and become smarter the more it drives. Drivers will need to supervise the driving during the test runs, but it will be a major step towards having completely autonomous vehicles.
“What is unique with DriveMe, is that we are not only building a concept car or doing demos, we are really doing research to help us understand how we can bring self-driving cars to the real world, to public roads with ordinary customers behind the wheel,” Erik Coelingh, Senior Technical Leader for Safety and Driver Support Technologies told Digital Trends, “...by accomplishing that objective, we will learn about the reality of self-driving cars, that it’s not just a fantasy. We will learn about technology, we will learn about the human factors, and how self-driving cars will impact society.”
According to Volvo, their projections show that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars. The car company also believes advantages of self-driving cars will be in the areas of safety, congestion, pollution, and time-savings. “Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner (self-driving) cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved,” Volvo CEO and President Hakan Samuelsson said.
Unfortunately, for those living in the United States Volvo has stated that there are no plans at this time to include road testing in America due to the different laws and guidelines in the 50 states, which make it near impossible to complete thorough testing.
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