Once it has been verified as safe for use on highways, Ride Pilot is expected to be available as an add-on subscription on the company’s forthcoming fully electric SUV. This new flagship car for the company will be revealed later this year.
Developed by autonomous driving (AD) software company Zenseact – together with Volvo Cars’ in-house team and developers from Luminar – the set-up consists of more than two dozen sensors, including Luminar’s cutting-edge Iris LiDAR sensor.
“We are proud to announce the planned US launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature, as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety,” said Mats Moberg, Head of Research and Development at Volvo Cars.
“Having Zenseact’s brand-new AD software and Luminar’s LiDAR standard in our new fully electric SUV is a game-changer for Volvo Cars, as well as for automotive safety and autonomous driving.”
While this software-sensor combination will be standard, Ride Pilot will only be made available to customers only once it has gone through Volvo Cars’ rigorous verification and testing protocol. This includes validation of the technology as safe for use on highways in a number of varying conditions.
As part of this verification process, Volvo Cars is already testing autonomous driving functionalities on roads in Sweden together with Zenseact, and collecting data across Europe and the US. By the middle of this year, the company intends to begin testing on roads in California, where the climate, traffic conditions and regulatory framework provide a favourable environment for the introduction of autonomous driving.
“Delivering a new safety standard for the industry requires a level of rigorous testing and verification that will expand globally,” said Ödgärd Anderson, CEO of Zenseact. “Zenseact AD software plays a key role in this new standard and in the journey towards zero collisions.”
Once it has been verified as safe and all necessary approvals have been secured, the company’s ambition is to roll out the technology in other markets and regions around the globe.
By using Ride Pilot, drivers will be able to free up time while driving, and spend it on secondary activities such as reading, writing, working or socialising, claims Volvo. The feature can also help drivers arrive at their destination rested and recharged, by reducing the mental strain that may come with driving, especially in traffic jams or heavy traffic.
Luminar’s LiDAR sensor will complement five radars, eight cameras and 16 ultrasonic sensors in Volvo Cars’ upcoming fully electric SUV. This standard sensor set-up provides excellent vision and perception reliability, claims the manufacturer. Together with continuous, over-the-air software rollouts, the system will ensure full redundancy and enable Volvo Cars to achieve safe autonomous driving with Ride Pilot.