Volvo said recently that it will begin testing autonomous cars in London next year using real people, not engineers or dummies. The program, dubbed “Drive Me London,” will start with semi-autonomous cars on public roads in 2017, with hopes to expand to more than 100 fully autonomous cars on London’s roads by 2018. The goal is to improve safety, congestion and pollution, Volvo said.
“The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved,” Volvo president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said. “Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. Volvo’s cars, including the new XC90 and S90, already boast semi-autonomous features that allow the car to stay within a lane, stop on its own, drive in traffic and more. The technology exists to make these cars fully autonomous, and now Volvo has a place to actually test that.
It wasn’t made immediately clear who the “real families” behind the wheel of the autonomous cars will be during these tests but, given Volvo’s history of providing some of the safest vehicles on the roads, they’re probably not taking a huge risk.