By on July 14, 2016

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

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]

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19 Comments on “Volvo Still Feels the Passion, Says Its Technology Will Never Take Away Human Driving Fun...”


  • avatar

    I see more VOLVOs on the road now than ever before.

    I personally am not interested. I prefer my JGCSRT over the XC90 and if “luxurious interior” was the main buying point, I’d choose a BMW X6 instead or a GLE AMG.

    As far as automated driving:

    My problem is that TESLA’S direction is actually the better direction to go.

    Autopilot will probably log more mileage than any other car’s cruise control/ adaptive cruise control – without incident.

    YES they need sensors up high to ensure you don’t get your head sheered off by a low garage door.

    YES they should consider forcing you to take the wheel at intervals to make sure you’re paying attention.

    But realistically: the autopilot system is far more effective, efficient and safer than any human driver could ever be – especially at night.

    Picking on Tesla for a handful of fatalities is like blaming all cops for having to smoke a few non-compliant/violent bad guys.

    Not only is it misguided, but it’s just plain ignorant.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That’s still a damn fine million dollar grin on that Buick Park Avenue

    Oh wait…

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I may not be a typical customer, but I would want AV for:
    1. taking over my commute so I can focus on working
    2. taking over long drives, so I can hang with my kids, or at least referee their fights more effectively
    3. Send the car to take the kids to/from their activities after school, so I don’t have to hire a nanny
    4. Allow me to have a couple glasses of wine with dinner and get me home

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Your last point is an excellent one.

      Future DUI checks may need to consider the intelligence (Level 1-5) of your autonomous driving system.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        “AV Unit, I’m going to ask you to step out of the car and put your hands on the hood while I perform a diagnostic check on your intelligence level.”

        “Well, lookee here, AV Unit, you’re supposed to be a Level 4, but you blew a Level 3 on our diagnostic. Put your hands behind your back, please. Very good. Now watch your head as you step into the back of the squad car.”

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Are they seriously calling it “Intellisafe Autopilot”? I guess no one learned from the “Autopilot” Tesla naming backlash. :P

    The technologies behind Level 2 autonomous driving are very quickly going to become ubiquitous now that several vendors are essentially commoditizing the tech for OEMs. But as JB noted, software is actually mattering more than hardware in a lot of these cases now. It will be interesting to see where things land circa 2018 or so.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Will autonomous cars get “drunk” buy using 10% ethanol gasoline? Will police now have to do an exhaustalizer roadside test?

  • avatar

    >>>The sound you hear is Google and Apple staffers spitting out their green tea energy drinks.

    I like that sound!

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The smart way to buy a Volvo is European delivery. You choose the options you want, and you get a free European vacation too.

      You shouldn’t believe salespeople’s excuses. They want to sell you a car today. As far as they are concerned, anyone who complains about “I would buy this one if it had that package and this brand of tires, and cost $10,000 less” is a time-waster. They’ve seen it a thousand times, and 999 of those weren’t serious.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    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)!

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