By on October 5, 2015

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

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.

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19 Comments on “Rise of the Robot Cars: Volvo Making Autonomous Driving XC90s...”


  • avatar

    The XC90 is extremely luxurious. At it’s price, it’s fantastic.

    I was disappointed that the executive seating option isn’t available yet. When my Azera lease ends, I may consider an XC90 as a people hauler for the business.

    As far as “automated driving” – any car with ultrasonic sensors, distance cameras, lane keeping cameras, and other object sensors can accomplish this. It’s basically just computer programming hooked to electronic steering.

    My favorite autopilot was my S-class’ distronic.

    Everyone should have a LOW SPEED traffic autonomous system that can start/stop and hold distance in traffic under 15 mph.

    Then “steer and drive itself at highway speeds”.

    That would be the ultimate selling point for cars here.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The move to autonomous cars will be incremental, and has already begun.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “The XC90 is extremely luxurious.”

      I disagree. I stopped by to look at an XC90 (after looking at a Tesla), and I walked away with a pretty meh feeling about the thing.

      The dealer was closed, and we only looked in the window, but I couldn’t think of anything I liked better about the thing than my 2004 Sienna. I won’t be going back for a test drive.

      They didn’t have the plugin hybrid version on the lot, which was what I really came to see. The plugin’s range isn’t all that impressive.

      Self driving cruise control is compelling, since I make 12+ hour prairie crossings several times a year.

      But seats than are less configurable than a 10 year old minivan, with worse 3rd row access, and a regular old dino-burner under the hood? That ain’t no luxury to me. The ride, handling, and power of my van are more than adequate, because my passengers start squealing before the tires do – if the XC90 has an edge here, it wouldn’t benefit me. I’ll keep my old van and several dozen grand in my pocket, thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        I’m almost certain that you’re trolling, but in case you’re not…

        The XC90 has the best interior in its class, the hybrid can scoot to 60 in the low to mid 5 second range, 17 to 25 mile range is pretty damn good for a 5,000 lb brick and the seats are also the best in its class, if not some of the best seats on the market.

        I love the XC90. So much that I have a T8 w/ all options on order and can’t wait until it gets here.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I’m not trolling – it’s just that I wanted to like the XC90 and came away with the impression that it’s an overpriced Honda Pilot with aa little extra wood and leather on the inside. It probably rides a littre better and goes faster, too. But what does that actually get you?

          I can now afford a luxury car, and I have a couple of family members who are puzzled about why I haven’t bought one. But I didn’t work my way into this demographic by being a fool or a follower, and most high end cars don’t appear to do very much to justify their extra cost. I’m amazed my how few people bother to question that. Show me the value, and I’ll change my tune.

          Anyway, after trying to like the XC90 and being intrigued by the possibility of a plugin hybrid drivetrain (new technology is worth a premium), I was left with the distinct impression that my old minivan is more luxurious than a $70k CUV in my particular situation (I’m only interested in the plugin hybrid version). Because imy existing vehicle is a minivan, and a need a minivan. A 3-row almost minivan is still almost as good as minivan, no matter how “luxurious” it is.

          Basically I cross shopped the XC90 with the beater van I already have, and the XC90 was eliminated at the second hurdle.

          Your needs may be very different, no maybe a vehicle like the XC90 is perfect for you. I’m very skeptical when people just wave their hands say “luxury”, without saying what that really means.

          And I’m doubly skeptical when BTSR says it.

          What, exactly, is so luxurious about the XC90?

          • 0 avatar
            Spartan

            The fit and finish is near S-Class level, it’s the only SUV you can get open pore wood trim on under $100k, the tech is best in class, it’s efficient, it can drive itself under 31 MPH, it drives like a dream, especially with the air suspension. Looks are subjective, but it is an absolute knock out compared to everything else in its class as well.

            Granted, I went all out with my T8, but even a T6 Inscription is better than everything in its class. The Audi Q7 may come close, but I haven’t had any seat time in one so I can’t say for sure.

            I’ve shopped a lot of cars and owned many over the years. The XC90 is probably one of the best luxury vehicles under $100k. It’s arguably the best luxury SUV under $100k.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I understand you’ve paid over $70,000 for a Volvo and now must justify it to yourself – but you’re nearly foaming at the mouth here with hyperbole about a car you don’t possess yet.

            Gotta chill it out a little.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Saw the 60 mins piece on autonomous cars and I am convinced they ain’t gonna be practical.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If you can’t sit in the back and feel luxurious, then what the heck is the point?! I can see where it would help with driver fatigue on long journeys though.

      Also, I’m hoping there’s aggression settings on how it drives. I don’t want to be all passive in my autonomobile Volvo. Not going to get pushed around by BMW drivers with their aggressive settings.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Also, I’m hoping there’s aggression settings on how it drives.”

        I’m envisioning a multiposition knob on the dashboard, with labels going, “Grandma”, “Clergyman”, “Nervous Student”, “NASCAR fan”, “Hedge Fund Manager”, “Russian Mobster”…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Of course, where you most need a giant XC90 is when you’re alone on a sunny freeway, commuting!

    I can see how the casting call went. “We need a very boring looking middle aged woman to wear a boxy suit, so nobody will pay attention to her or be offended.”

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I’m just waiting for Volvo to come out with a designated driver and refrigerated cup holder package.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “(31 miles) of roads near Gothenburg.”

    And now we know how far the Volvo CEO lives from the office.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Sounds like Muskian prematurity with half-baked tech.

  • avatar
    Funky

    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?).

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I thought Geely had every reason to bring Volvo down market an chase volume. But they seem to be going upmarket, instead.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “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…

  • avatar
    raph

    Don’t hit Linn!

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