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Volvo's Autonomous Cars

Autonomous cars - vehicles that can drive themselves without human involvement - have featured in countless science fiction films for decades, yet they are set to become reality in the near future.

The 5 levels of autonomous

Autonomous driving is categorised into five levels. The higher the level, the lower the input required by a driver.

Self Parking Car
Level 1

Basic, partial driver assistance systems such as cruise control (where the car maintains a set driver-selected speed, as well as distance with an adaptive system) or parking aids (where the car steers into a space but the driver controls the braking and accelerating). The driver remains chiefly responsible for the operation of the vehicle.

Volvo Autonomous Car
Level 2

Autonomous driving takes a step up here, with steering and speed controlled by one or more vehicle systems using stereo cameras, radar and sensors. It allows for brief periods of hands-free driving, though the (human) driver must be ready to resume control at short notice and is responsible for other elements of driving.

Self driving car technology
Level 3

Combining more advanced sensors with the likes of laser scanning and radar, level 3 autonomous driving systems can monitor the driving environment surrounding the the vehicle and make decisions themselves without driver input. A driver can intervene - and must be able to retake control of the vehicle at any time.

Autonomous Car
Level 4

Here, the driver has the option to give an autonomous vehicle full command of every aspect of driving - and doesn't need to respond to a request from the system to intervene, as the the car is equipped to adapt to changing traffic conditions and even handle potentially hazardous situations. It's even possible for the driver to have a sleep, though they must be fit to drive in case needed.

Fully Autonomous Car
Level 5

This is the holy grail of autonomous cars - where artificial intelligence assumes control for fully automated, driving with no human involvement required. The 'driver' simply become another passenger as such autonomous vehicles have no need for a steering wheel, pedals or other driving controls.

 
Volvo autonomous driving technology

Volvo and autonomous cars

Volvo Cars technology has been supporting drivers for years already, with various semi-autonomous and autonomous systems on several of its models.
volvo-offer-97-week

Stand out from the hatchback crowd with sophisticated design, signature safety features and innovative technology.

Features include:
- 1.5L turbo charged petrol engine producing 112kW / 250Nm
- Park Assist
- Sensus Connect interface

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Volvo Interior Autonomous Car Technology

Pilot Assist

Pilot Assist is an extension of ACC, assisting with the steering to help keep the vehicle centred in its lane. Theoretically, it will do this without any driver input on the steering wheel for a short period, though Volvo cars currently recommends drivers keeping their hands on the wheel.

What's next?

In 2017, Volvo Cars launched a large-scale autonomous driving project in Gothenburg which allowed real people to experience self-driving cars on public roads.

The company anticipates that its first vehicles capable of unsupervised driving will be ready by 2021.

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