New laws to make self-driving dream a reality
12:30 AM | April 5 2016

New laws to make self-driving dream a reality

Volvo Cars has moved closer to making the dream of self-driving cars that make journeys safer and easier a reality with the announcement of new laws that will give its groundbreaking Drive Me real-world trial the green light.

The proposed legislation is due to take effect from 1 May 2017. It enables Volvo to put the first batch of cars within the Drive Me trial, with real customers behind the steering wheel, on the roads in 2017. In total more than 100 cars, which gradually will evolve to unsupervised self-driving cars, will be used in the trial that will end in 2019.

Current Swedish laws allow Volvo Cars to carry out limited testing of prototype autonomous vehicles on public roads. The proposed new laws will allow the cars to be tested in large numbers using ordinary drivers, to ensure that self-driving cars can provide the maximum benefit to both individuals and society as a whole.

Anders Eugensson, Director, Government Affairs at Volvo Cars, said: “You can test prototype vehicles using engineers under special agreements but for the Drive Me trial we are going to involve not just Volvo engineers but normal customers.”

“We are very positive about this Government initiative that will make it possible to do the testing in Sweden.” “It is a real step towards developing fully autonomous cars that will go to market and improve traffic safety as well as bring time back to people.

“Within the Drive Me project we are working closely together with academia, private and public sectors in order to make autonomous driving a reality. We are cooperating closely, discussing the issues, the benefits and the legal challenges. This will change society.”

Under the proposed legislation, the Swedish Transport Agency would supervise self-driving vehicle trials, issuing permits to approved testing organisations that would be required to comply with strict regulations.

Importantly, the test organisation, not the vehicle’s driver, would be legally responsible in the event of an accident once the vehicle is in full autonomous mode.