Dubbed 'Drive Me – self driving cars for sustainable mobility', the programme is backed by the Swedish government and state transport authorities, along with the Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg.
As part of Volvo’s plan for zero fatalities in its products by 2020, the Swedish carmaker hopes to have its customers driving autonomous cars in Gothenburg by 2017.
“Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars’ as well as the Swedish government’s vision of zero traffic fatalities,” President and CEO of Volvo Car Group, Håkan Samuelsson, said.
“This public pilot represents an important step towards this goal. It will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.”
The test will see autonomous cars using approximately 50km of selected roads in and around Gothenburg including typical commuter arteries, motorway conditions and roads with frequent queues.
It’s not just about stopping-and-starting either, with Volvo also testing the vehicles ability to leave the traffic flow and find a safe ‘harbour’ if the driver loses control along with analysing the reactions of other road-users when they realise the ‘driver’ isn’t driving.
Gothenburg’s infrastructure will also be studied in an attempt to isolate obstacles to a self-driven future, with the vehicle’s ability to park itself without any human occupants being a key part of the test.