Pilot Assist puts Volvo “at the forefront of the industry”
12:30 AM | July 14 2016

Pilot Assist puts Volvo “at the forefront of the industry”

Pilot Assist – Volvo Cars’ semi-autonomous driving technology that helps makes journeys more relaxing by letting the car support you – has been given a resounding endorsement by the automotive press after experiencing it in the new Volvo S90 and V90.

Auto Express says that Pilot Assist is “yet another step towards fully autonomous driving – proving Volvo is at the forefront of the industry when it comes to these systems”. For The Thrillist, Aaron Miller calls the S90 a “mightily impressive and important” car – not least because it is “the first car to come with city- and highway-capable, self-steering autonomous technology as standard equipment”.

Similarly, Cnet and Autocar praise Volvo for equipping the S90 and V90 with semi-autonomous technology as standard. “It’s pretty cool stuff that can be built on”, agrees Chip Chick, “and the fact that it’s a standard feature is a huge argument in favor of Volvo.”

Volvo designs its cars so that drivers can be in no doubt as to when they are in charge (and, in future, when they aren’t) – while Pilot Assist supports drivers, it doesn’t replace them. Volvo Cars feel strongly about this, as any confusion on this point could pose a safety risk. It’s a distinctive approach, one that Top Gear makes a point of discussing in its review of the V90.

“Volvo is very careful not to advertise it as self-driving,” says Top Gear’s Paul Horrell. “These are support measures. You’re obliged to keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on the job.

“Volvo argues that the moment when the auto-systems lose their hold and give up is likely to be a stressful one. If at that critical instant the so-called driver is metaphorically miles away, then the transition from machine to man could get very messy indeed. So Volvo continues to work on autonomous driving, but it’ll only allow the human to zone out when the car really can drive itself for significant portions of the journey – and can give the driver lots of warning when their input is required.”

The Thrillist agrees: “Volvo is very clear that it absolutely does not want you relying on the system. It exists to provide you with a reassuring backup that can ease the physical strain and mental stress of your daily commute.

“Volvo’s [technology] is grounded within its decades-old compulsion of safety first. It’s a philosophical difference, but one that manifests itself by way of warnings and eventual shut-off if you don’t keep your hand on the wheel.”

In a similar vein, Cnet writes: “Volvo stressed to me that the system is designed to help the driver, not replace you, so it requires an alert human being behind the wheel. That’s why it’s called Pilot Assist. Try to go hands-free and, after a few moments, the S90 will detect your lack of inputs and warn you to get your mitts back on the wheel. This is Volvo’s next step toward autonomy, but true autonomy is yet a few bends down the road.”

With Pilot Assist, Volvo Cars is determined that the journey to your next destination is a safe – and comfortable – one.