100 self-driving Volvo vehicles are anticipated to take the streets of London in 2017 for a series of planned autonomous driving trials in the UK.
Under the Drive Me London programme, data from everyday Volvo drivers will be used to develop autonomous cars suitable for real-world driving conditions. The trials will be done by real families using their cars in day-to-day situations.
Volvo believes that autonomous driving could aid in improvements in road safety and pledged that nobody will be seriously injured or killed by one of its cars by the year 2020. Research conducted in the US has even suggested that by 2035, crashes could be reduced by up to 80 per cent from using autonomous cars.
“We’ve already seen this with the adoption of autonomous emergency braking on many new cars,” said Thatcham chief executive Peter Shaw. “Additionally, if a crash can’t be avoided, then the impact speed will also drop as a result of the systems’ performance, reducing the severity of the crash.”
In addition, autonomous driving would also cut down time spent idling in traffic and carbon emissions.
“There are multiple benefits to autonomous driving cars,” said Volvo’s Samuelsson. “That is why governments globally need to put in place the legislation and infrastructure to allow autonomous driving cars onto the streets as soon as possible”
The UK is rapidly becoming a nexus for development of autonomous vehicle technology after the government established a code of practice for driverless car testing, and a £20m research and development funding pot.
Jaguar Land Rover is also establishing a 41-mile stretch of road in the Midlands for its autonomous cars, while Highways England plans to start its own tests in 2017.