Autonomous cars will open new opportunities for architecture and design. Won't they?
Driven by its “safety first” credo, Volvo has launched in its hometown, Goteborg, Sweden, a ground-breaking project called ‘Drive Me’ that will see a fleet of 100 self-driving Volvos on public roads in everyday driving conditions.
«The first test cars are already rolling around the Swedish city of Gothenburg and the sophisticated Autopilot technology is performing well», says Erik Coiling, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group. He reports that «the test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves.»
One day a “Drive Me” Volvo should drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode. Volvo call its technology application Autopilot to suggest that the driver will be able to hand over the driving to the vehicle with a number of benefits that Volvo illustrates with a series of simple renderings.
In their vision the car of the future will operate more like a modern aircraft than a clone.
The concept, however, requires a major redesign of the road infrastructure and one has to wonder if it still makes sense to just reconsider the car and the road system or (with electric vehicle) think of a new sort of private mobility.
What makes Volvo’s ‘Drive Me’ project unique is that it already involves all the key players: legislators, transport authorities, a major city, a vehicle manufacturer and real customers. The customers will drive the 100 cars in everyday driving conditions on approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads in and around Gothenburg. These roads are typical commuter arteries, including motorway conditions and frequent queues.
‘Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility’ is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. On its turn, the Swedish Government is endorsing the project.