It's not just Google who is betting on autonomous cars being the next technological game changer. Some automobile companies are also working towards incorporating and developing this emerging technology. Volvo is the latest manufacturer to jump on the bandwagon.
At an event in Beijing, Volvo's chief executive Hakan Samuelsson commented that the company intends to conduct an experiment involving up to 100 self-driving cars in China. He also revealed that the company is targeting 10 per cent year-on-year sales growth for the China market.
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During the experiment, local drivers will get to test the autonomous cars on public roads in typical everyday conditions. The Swedish carmaker has also revealed that these tests will be carried out in limited driving scenarios like express ways and highways.
Volvo has commented that with this experiment it is trying to take steps to utilize the pledges made by the policymakers in China towards incorporating self-driving car technology. Currently, the carmaker is looking out for a city in China which can give them the requisite permission and also has the infrastructure for this experiment to be carried out.
We need to build up consumer trust in the technology. So, you have to bring it out and demonstrate it. It has to be a big city where there are lots of consumers wasting an hour a day in the cars. That's I think realistically where this function can be sold commercially," said Samuelsson. The company is yet to reveal by when it intends to carry out this experiment.
Samuelsson also commented that Volvo's self-driving cars are similar to our regular cars but their autopilot mode can be engaged in specific conditions like while driving on freeways, in industrial parks or gated neighborhoods and the driver has the choice of regaining control whenever necessary. He also stated that voice controlled, futuristic driverless cars, without steering wheels and that can go anywhere under any conditions won't be arriving on public roads in the near future.
It will be interesting to see how this experiment works out for Volvo. What will be even more interesting is getting to witness the company trying this experiment in India.