12:30 AM | November 6 2015

Autopilot – expecting the unexpected

Volvo Cars has announced details of how its self-driving cars will help make roads safer for everyone. Speaking at the International Driverless Cars conference in Adelaide, Australia, Dr Trent Victor, Senior Technical Leader Crash Avoidance at Volvo Cars Safety Centre, said that the company’s autonomous cars will ‘expect extreme situations’.

Volvo Cars’ Drive Me trial will put 100 self-driving cars on public roads in 2017 and the IntelliSafe Autopilot technology they use will be capable of handling every aspect of driving, including assessing hazardous situations, Trent said. “The self-driving cars in the Drive Me project are extremely intelligent – unlike us humans, they can monitor a full 360° view around the car. They never become distracted or fall asleep. They are programmed to drive carefully and to stay away from critical situations. If there is an emergency, they react quicker than most humans.”

Although it is impossible to guarantee that Volvo Cars’ self-driving cars will be able to avoid all crashes, they will be prepared for extreme situations, Trent said. “If a situation that can’t be foreseen occurs, the system is programmed to follow the traffic rules, stay in the lane and brake as hard as possible to avoid or mitigate the situation,” explains Trent. “Our car will never have to make the choice between driving into a pedestrian or another car, for example."

Trent Victor