Volvo is to launch a semi-autonomous car trial on public UK roads next year, with 'real families' driving the cars.
Volvo’s test will be called ‘Drive Me London’ and will differentiate itself from other programmes by using real families driving autonomous cars on public roads.
Volvo will source its data from these everyday users and use this data to develop autonomous driving cars that are suitable for real-world driving conditions, rather than the more unrealistic conditions found on test tracks. Thatcham Research will be providing the technical data analysis and any professional test drivers needed as part of the trial.
Drive Me London will begin in early 2017 with a limited number of semi-autonomous driving cars and expand in 2018 to include up to 100 cars, making it the largest and most extensive testing programme on Britain’s streets.
Peter Shaw, chief executive at Thatcham Research, said: “This is a landmark trial in the development of autonomous driving. The data collection and analysis will for the first time provide real world insights into how drivers actually react to autonomous driving in actual road conditions.”
"Research in the US by NHTSA predicts that by 2035, as a result of autonomous and connected cars, crashes will be reduced by 80%. Additionally, if a crash unfortunately can’t be avoided, then the impact speed will also drop as a result of the system’s performance – reducing the severity of the crash,” added Shaw.
“Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”