Volvo is putting its Krona on the table. Many car manufacturers are promising that by 2020 they will have semi-autonomous cars, meaning the driver will still have to pay attention. The Swedish car company has now said its systems will have learned enough and be safe enough that the “driver” won’t have to supervise, according to Tech Insider. Other manufacturers will be still in driver-management mode.
“The thing that is unique is that we are really trying to deploy the technology in reality. And when I say that, I mean self-driving cars that allow drivers to do something else behind the steering wheel,” said Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader for safety and driver support technologies.
Volvo is using Nvidia’s GPU-based deep-learning system with its DriveMe program, Nvidia recently told Digital Trends. By 2017 DriveMe will be launched in London, several cities in China, and in Gothenburg, Sweden, with 100 specially equipped XC90s in each country. Ordinary families will drive the Volvos in a wide variety of circumstances and conditions. While they drive, the systems will capture the data and the aggregate will be used by the machine learning programs behind the Nvidia system. During testing, the drivers will supervise the driving, but the result of the testing will be the big win, a self-driving system that has been tested internationally with ordinary drivers.
“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,” Coelingh said.
“And 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.”
Volvo has previously stated that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars. The company believes that this real-world family testing will make it possible. The advantages of self-driving vehicles will be in the areas of safety, congestion, pollution, and time-savings, according to Volvo.
Volvo CEO and President Håkan Samuelsson said, “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 will introduce an autopilot in 2017 similar to the current Tesla system, but by 2020 the firm fully expects and intends for its driverless technology to be truly autonomous. Volvo has no plans at this time to include road testing in the U.S. because different laws and guidelines in the 50 states make it impossible to complete credible testing.
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