Volvo XC90 Drive Me test vehicle
12:30 AM | April 13 2016

Volvo’s self-driving vision applauded

Plans for Volvo Cars to test self-driving cars in China, paving the way for safer, more efficient journeys, has been greeted by a wave of positive media feedback.
At an international seminar hosted by Volvo in Beijing, the company outlined how self-driving cars could play a key role in reducing pollution, congestion and accidents on Chinese roads. It also announced plans for a real-life trial of self-driving cars that would see Chinese customers test up to 100 autonomous Volvo cars on public roads, follow the format of Volvo’s groundbreaking Drive Me project.

Talking about the Chinese trial, Engadget said: “Volvo is about to embark on one of the greatest adventures in the history of self-driving cars.” The trial could “take humanity one step closer to hands-free private transportation”, it added.

The Financial Times said: “Getting driverless vehicles on the road faces legal, technical and social challenges… Volvo is hoping the unique traffic and legislative conditions in China might allow it to overcome these challenges ahead of rivals.”

The safety benefits of self-driving cars were highlighted by Fortune, which said: “Volvo has been among the more aggressive in this space, and sees autonomous driving systems as the tool that will help it meet its goal to have no one seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by the year 2020.”

Wired.com described China as “a logical spot for extending Volvo’s testing program”, citing the country’s “terrible congestion, brutal air pollution, and more than 200,000 traffic-related deaths each year”.

The Verge said: “In announcing its plans in China, Volvo is also calling on governments worldwide to get their acts together on autonomous driving”. It quoted Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars, who explained: “There are multiple benefits to [autonomous driving] cars. That is why governments need to put in place the legislation to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible.”

The scale and ambition of the trial was highlighted by Tech Insider, which described it as “the most ambitious self-driving car experiment ever”.

“No other car company has tried to test this many self-driving cars in the wild at once, let alone let everyday users ride in the vehicle,” it added.