Last year, I spent several miles behind the wheel of an autonomous Volvo. The S60 autonomous prototype successfully navigated a test-track, designed to reflect a fast and sweeping country road, while keeping a safe distance from a vehicle in front.
At the time, Volvo said the number of sensors needed to deliver fully autonomous driving was around twice as many as in present cars.
And while the V40 we have on test has a range of features for safely performing braking, lane-keeping and parking manouevres, there are a few occasions where it demonstrates it is not quite ready to do without the driver’s input.
While it is good at reading speed limits, and posting a reminder in the information display as well as a marker around the perimeter of the speedometer, it can become confused if it doesn’t see a sign. For example, the car park at Fleet News has a speed limit of 15mph. But on leaving the car park the first sign that indicates the speed on the road is more than half a mile away. For now, this is fine as the driver can make a judgement about speed. But it’s clear more work needs to be done.