Swedish car manufacturer Volvo is planning to bring its self-driving cars to the streets of London in 2017.
The automotive industry is gradually ramping up its full-scale trials of autonomous vehicles on public roads, with self-driving pods and shuttles scheduled to appear on pavements in Greenwich and Milton Keynes in the summer of 2016. Volvo is the latest manufacturer to indicate that it will test semi-autonomous cars in London in 2017.
Volvo will trial its semi-autonomous 4x4 vehicles from 2017 in a project called Drive Me London. These have already been trialled in Gothenburg since 2014 but in a much more limited fashion. In parallel to the London test, Volvo will run a full test in Gothenburg at the same time.
Håkan Samuelsson, the president and chief executive of Volvo,which has a reputation for safety, said:
"Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the faster lives will start being saved."
The UK tests will be run with the assistance of the Thatcham Research centre. Thatcham chief executive Peter Shaw said:
"Without doubt, the crash frequency will dramatically reduce, and when a collision can’t be avoided, the impact speed will also drop as a result of the system’s performance."
Antonio Avenoso, the executive director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), said:
"Automated vehicles are already starting to appear on Europe’s roads, but regulators are still stuck in the slow lane. It is crucial that we get a much greater understanding of what the real world safety benefits would be, and what new risks would be introduced before these vehicles are put on sale."
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