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Volvo Aims for Autonomous Driving Technology Leadership

September 20, 2012

The Volvo vehicles participating in the road train project.
The Volvo vehicles participating in the road train project.

ROCKLEIGH, NJ – Volvo announced its progress in the field of autonomous driving technology, stating that it’s aiming for leadership in this emerging technology field in the automotive industry. The automaker said it had recently completed its participation in the for Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) “road train” project in Europe, an on-road demonstration of autonomous vehicles using a “platooning” strategy (where a group of autonomous vehicles follows a lead vehicle). This project featured a single, manually driven truck followed by an autonomous Volvo S60, V60, and XC60.

"Our aim is to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and pioneering technologies that will reach the customers. Making these features reliable enough to use on public roads is crucial to boosting customer confidence in self-driving cars," said Marcus Rothoff, Product Attribute Manager, Driver Assistance at Volvo Car Corporation.

Volvo stated that the advantages of autonomous vehicles include the potential for zero accidents and related injuries; reduced fuel consumption; and potentially reducing travel times by improving traffic flow.

As part of the SARTRE project, Volvo said it integrated two new technologies into the vehicles. The first is a prototype human-machine interface that features a touch screen for displaying information and carrying out requests (leaving or joining the road train, for example). The other notable technology is a prototype vehicle-to-vehicle communication unit that allows all vehicles in the platoon to communicate with one another.

Autonomous parking is another potential use for autonomous vehicles, and current and near-term uses of the technologies involved include autonomous braking and obstacle avoidance. The automaker said the SARTRE project also involved a study to determine requirements for broader implementation of this technology.

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