Volvo Still Feels the Passion, Says Its Technology Will Never Take Away Human Driving Fun
There are upsides to autonomous driving, but Volvo drivers are still made of flesh, with blood pumping though their veins.
Unlike that hazy group of people who lose their minds with excitement at the thought of always being a passenger in their own car, the Swedish automaker isn’t about to take away the act of driving from its customers.
Volvo’s CEO might have been channeling fictional Volvo enthusiast Simon Templar when he claimed he only wants technology to take away the boring elements of driving.
Speaking to Autocar, Håkan Samuelsson said, “We have no ambition to have a car that could drive in urban environments from A to B.”
The sound you hear is Google and Apple staffers spitting out their green tea energy drinks.
“If you’re a normal consumer, is that really what you are dreaming about?” Samuelsson asked. “We believe more that in a situation where it’s not really fun to drive, you can switch on the autopilot and then sit back and do something else, using that time more productively. That is the product we are developing.”
Like so many other automakers, Volvo is busy developing self-driving technology. The automaker plans to launch a real-world test of its Intellisafe Autopilot system in Sweden next year. Those trials will see 100 XC90 SUVs outfitted with the technology driving all over ABBA’s homeland, while a smaller test will take place in London, England.
Samuelsson said Volvo doesn’t want to market the system unless it can be fully autonomous when switched on, unlike automakers that use semi-autonomous systems as driver’s aids.
[Image: Volvo Car Corporation]
Will autonomous cars get "drunk" buy using 10% ethanol gasoline? Will police now have to do an exhaustalizer roadside test?
>>>The sound you hear is Google and Apple staffers spitting out their green tea energy drinks. I like that sound!
Volvo in the USA has a HUGE disconnect between the BS they spew at HQ back in Europe (or is it China?) and the reality of what they actually stock, sell, and even make available to performance oriented drivers. Look at their sad lots. Oceans of white, bland, underpowered versions. Nary an R design to be seen on most of them. They don't even have IN THE ENTIRE USA enough for each dealership to have a single performance version of V60 and S60 on the lot. And you can get any XC90 you want as long as it's gold, white, has $10,000 of worthless options on it that don't improve performance a bit, or a Black Momentum trim with skinny 18" wheels. And of course, whether or not you live where it's cold, $500 worth of heated seats. Imagine lumping $500 of wasted costs onto 1/3 of your sales in any other business. Ask a salesperson why and you'll get "Volvo drivers don't like red cars" or "Volvo drivers want a soft ride" or "Volvo drivers don't care about speed". It's a freaking joke, and after two of them I'm about done. I tried in 2010 to buy a specific vehicle they featured in ads. No dice. None available in the region. Tried again in 2015. NOPE, you'll have to drive 4 hours to find one! Loser company that sold 40K units for the past 5 years plus and would be pondering an exit now if not for the XC90. Once the intial rush for those is gone, watch them shrivel up. Wanna order one to your tastes? 4-5 months you'll hear. Maybe. No guarantees. What about your trade value? Nope, we'll take your $2,000 deposit w/o guaranteeing that, and once your new car arrives you can let us rape you on the trade. Pass.
I'm actually shocked that Volvo wants to keep the pleasure in driving. A few years back, we had a Volvo S60 as a loaner while our family's BMW was in the body shop (it was rear ended by a teenage driver). After a lot of highway/city driving in it, me and my father concluded that it was a great car but, lacked the element of "being fun to drive". The engine had great pickup but, lacked a amusing exhaust note to be interesting, it's cornering ability was just too casual to experience the lack of grip and finally, the suspension felt lethargic going over bumps. We did like the interior though because, it balanced sport and luxury. For road trips [and best of all safety], Volvo's are the perfect cars (and they fit in with their consumer's demands)!