Rise of the Robot Cars: Volvo Making Autonomous Driving XC90s

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Next year, Volvo said it would make available in Sweden 100 autonomous driving XC90s that will be capable of driving themselves on roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) of roads near Gothenburg.

The technology, which is dubbed IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, adds self-driving to technology already available in its cars; under 30 mph Auto Pilot will drive an XC90 as long as it senses a hand on the steering wheel.

According to the automaker, the car will notify the driver if it enters a stretch of road where it can drive itself. The driver would need to pull both steering wheel-mounted paddles to engage the autonomous driving features. When the car is about to leave self-driving roads, it alerts the driver that they have one minute to regain control of the car or the XC90 will come to a stop.

It’s unclear where the autonomous roads would be near Gothenburg. Volvo didn’t specify if the car would use vehicle-to-road communication or mapping technology to drive on the roads. According to Volvo, the Drive Me autonomous driving project the automaker started in 2013, would be the “world’s most ambitious AD project.” (Google may have something to say about that.)

Volvo said it would make available the IntelliSafe Auto Pilot to consumers, but didn’t specify when those cars would go on the market.

Other automakers, such as General Motors, have announced that cars will feature more autonomous driving technology in the next two years. Last year, GM announced that its “Super Cruise” feature would drive cars where it’s possible, but the automaker hasn’t announced how that feature would work.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Oct 05, 2015

    "(31 miles) of roads near Gothenburg." And now we know how far the Volvo CEO lives from the office.

  • RideHeight RideHeight on Oct 05, 2015

    Sounds like Muskian prematurity with half-baked tech.

  • Funky Funky on Oct 05, 2015

    This sounds like an interesting but expensive option. The "fully loaded" XC90 is now more than $70k. Also, I think, the already sparse Volvo dealerships are slowly disappearing. I have to drive 25 miles to the nearest. The nearest to me appears to be having difficulty (they no longer answer their phones when customers call to make service appointments and they seem to be understaffed on the sales side (only one person selling Volvos...and they apparently sell only a few, like 2 or 3, each month). Volvo may be pricing themselves out of the USA market. I am a long time customer and a fan but I simply cannot waste my time driving to the next nearest dealership (more than 40 miles away) for service and I cannot justify spending a huge extra fee for technology options that likely soon will be available commonly on most models sold by most manufacturers (in other words; what exactly makes the XC90 a worthwhile $70k expense and worthy of a 45 minute drive to the nearest garage?).

    • See 1 previous
    • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Oct 07, 2015

      @Luke42 "I thought Geely had every reason to bring Volvo down market an chase volume. But they seem to be going upmarket, instead." Perhaps they've learned from the mistakes of, like, five hundred hojillion other automakers. Difficult to believe, I know, but...

  • Raph Raph on Oct 10, 2015

    Don't hit Linn!