Volvo Adding Driverless Feature Drivers Can Choose to Use or Avoid

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication

Insti­tute of Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tron­ics Engi­neers (IEEE), a large orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the advance­ment of tech­nol­o­gy, recent­ly chose autonomous vehi­cles as the most promis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for intel­li­gent trans­porta­tion. IEEE pre­dicts that dri­ver­less cars will make up to 75% of cars on the road by 2040. That offers plen­ty of time to find out if gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tors and con­sumers accept and embrace the rad­i­cal shift to autonomous vehi­cles.

In the mean­time between now and 2040, or at least until states like Neva­da and Cal­i­for­nia test and accept dri­ver­less cars, automak­ers like Vol­vo are qui­et­ly mov­ing toward autonomous vehi­cles through what’s being placed in cars going to mar­ket. Vol­vo will soon be offer­ing a new traf­fic jam assis­tance sys­tem, designed to cut down on the stress of dri­ving in heavy traf­fic. The car will auto­mat­i­cal­ly fol­low the vehi­cle in front of it in slow-mov­ing traf­fic of up to 50 kilo­me­ters per hour (about 31 miles per hour). Vol­vo says the sys­tem will be ready for pro­duc­tion in 2014.

Con­trol is not tak­en away from dri­vers – the dri­ver has to acti­vate the fea­ture by press­ing a but­ton. The new fea­ture will be com­ing from Volvo’s cur­rent Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol and Lane Keep­ing Aid tech­nol­o­gy and it allows the engine, brakes, and steer­ing to auto­mat­i­cal­ly respond. Vol­vo sees added tech­nol­o­gy fea­tures like this one to be essen­tial for boost­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence in self-dri­ving cars. Vol­vo is also lob­by­ing for a fed­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work for autonomous vehi­cles, as the legal sit­u­a­tion for the tech­nol­o­gy remains unclear – and states are going about it their own way, for now.

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