December 2, 2013 – The pilot project goes by the name “Drive Me” and will involve 100 autonomous self-piloting vehicles to be let loose on Gothenburg’s streets in 2017. Volvo is working with the Swedish Transport Administration and Gothenburg, population 491,000, Sweden’s second largest city.
The reason the Swedish Transport Administration is pushing this project forward has everything to do with its vision to achieve zero traffic fatalities. Based on Google’s track record to date with autonomous cars, having been driven for 500,000 kilometers (over 300,000 miles) to date with only one accident, a fender bender that occurred when a human in one of the cars turned off the self-driving feature, this pilot project may help achieve Sweden’s vision.
About 50 kilometers (30 miles) of public road has been designated for the pilot project. The streets chosen are typical city roads that reflect normal traffic patterns with changes of speeds.
When asked, Volvo’s President and CEO stated this about the project, “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 goals of the project include determining what infrastructure investment needs to be made on public roads to make autonomous vehicles a success. Also the project hopes to determine how autonomous vehicles and human-driven vehicles will interact on the same roads. The plan will start with technology that will allow human intervention within the autonomous vehicle when appropriate.