Volvo USA has announced that when the S90 arrives it will come standard with a second-generation version of Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous system capable of controlling the vehicle in highway situations at speeds of up to 130km/h.
The current XC90 was the first to offer Pilot Assist, able to accelerate and decelerate, come to a complete stop, and follow clearly marked lanes, at speeds of up to 50km/h. The new system will lift the speed threshold considerably, and be able to operate without the need to follow a lead vehicle.
While the system itself is a long way from offering fully autonomous driving, and is still only able to operate in selected situations, it offers a first step towards the production autonomous future that Volvo has so strongly championed.
“Making semi-autonomous features standard in the S90 symbolizes Volvo's commitment to autonomous driving and our Vision 2020,” said Lex Kerssemakers, President & CEO of Volvo Car USA.
“The S90 will be the first vehicle to offer this semi-autonomous technology as standard.”
Other details about the new S90 will be revealed at the car’s public debut at next week’s Detroit Auto Show, but the S90 is expected to echo the powertrain line-up of the XC90 range.
With the announcement of an updated Pilot Assist system, it seems Volvo may have a few other surprises when the covers come off the S90, making it more than just a low-riding version of the XC90.
As for the updated Pilot Assist system’s chances in Australia, it’s possible that legal roadblocks regarding a driver’s obligation to remain in control of a vehicle could potentially prevent the full system from being implemented here.
Volvo Australia has been contacted for further clarification, and we’ll update this article with their response.
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