Jacob Gramenius Transportstyrelsen during Thursday's panel discussion at the Swedish parliament.
12:30 AM | March 14 2016

Self-driving cars 2020 – if the society is ready

Authorities and the industry have at large the same view on the great possibilities that self-driving cars offer. This common ground came out clearly at a debate in Stockholm yesterday. “Our aim is to offer our customers self-driving cars by 2020, but to succeed, it will be very important that we have authorities and politicians with us,” said CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

Volvo Cars is leading the development of autonomous cars. With the test project Drive Me, where real customers will travel in self-driving cars, the company takes a huge step towards commercialising the technology. But taking it further requires a society that is prepared for self-driving cars.

To highlight this issue Volvo Cars was one of the organisers to a panel debate at the Swedish parliament, stressing that Sweden has the potential to lead the global transition to an autonomous transportation system. Part of the debate panel were representatives of authorities, academia and the business sector. Jacob Gramenius, acting director of Transportstyrelsen said:

“If we want to decrease the number of accidents, self-driving cars will be crucial. Authorities will have to prepare for this in many different ways and we are analysing how to adapt the legislation so it doesn't hinder the technical development. We’ve started a study, where we look at a possible set of rules and a proposition isn’t far away.”

Volvo and authorities see great opportunities with self-driving cars

Many members of parliament were on site to listen to the debate. It was obvious that there is a real will to cooperate, from all parties, to solve the problems related to autonomous driving. The strategic innovation programme Drive Sweden, has been initiated by the Swedish government to facilitate the implementation of an autonomous transport system. Jan Hellåker, program director Drive Sweden, was in Stockholm to follow the debate.

“To me there is no doubt that Volvo's Drive Me project is world leading. I wholeheartedly believe in this. We have a fantastic chance to change the way that we live and at the same time move towards a sustainable society. We have got to keep on moving at a fast pace, not least within the legislation area where I see a potential obstacle.”

There will be more seminars and panel discussions with the purpose of highlighting the issues linked to a future with autonomous driving cars. There was one in Washington back in October and upcoming seminars are planned to take place in London and Bejing in the coming months.

“This seminar was important since we consider that the Government do not take the full advantage of the Drive Me-project. The project will strengthen the competiveness of Sweden and there are also major societal benefits from AD transportation, such as improved safety and traffic flow,” says Anders Kärrberg VP Government Affairs.