At the LA Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo today, I got a chance to chat with Volvo about their plans for the future. The big news is the Swedish company is planning to start rolling out autonomous technology in some of its cars by 2017.
The cars are going to be based on the XC90, and they will employ a special kind of hybrid autonomous system that can only be used in certain conditions. The car will use a large collection of sensors and technology to monitor and control the car, and a secondary GPS system to track positioning as well.
Volvo says it will use the sensor data, along with the GPS data and real-time weather and condition information pulled from the cloud to define if it is safe to use the autonomous system or not. If everything is given the green light, the car will let the drive know they can remove their hands from the wheel, and from that point Volvo assumes full responsibility for the car.
Volvo is hoping to start putting these cars on the road in the first half of 2017 with a planned schedule of 100 cars before the end of the year. This is being treated like a beta test and Volvo has not shared any details.
Still, seeing a middle-ground hybrid integration of an autonomous driving system is a very interesting choice for the company to make. Much like the transition to electric cars, this dual operation system can be used to help build trust in consumer’s minds that the technology will work. It is a very smart move for Volvo to make.
Expect more info on this tech to come later.