Volvo self driving cars
12:30 AM | January 19 2016

Why self-driving cars could transform our cities

Volvo Cars is collaborating with the City of Gothenburg on a new project that explores the potential of self-driving cars to make cities better places to live. The project, called “Self-parking vehicles – parking as an availability issue in sustainable urban development”, will investigate how self-driving cars will have the power to radically change the way cities develop.
Self-driving cars will be able to drop you off and then park in designated areas elsewhere, so there will be less need for car parks next to every office, business or retail area. It means the space that is currently used for car parks could be used for something else. Autonomous cars that can park themselves could also save space by parking closer together than those with human drivers.

A pilot study for the first car park that will be used by both manually and autonomously driven vehicles is under way. The purpose is to learn how to design parking areas that are suited to the requirements of self-driving cars. In autumn 2016 a Volvo car that can park itself will carry out demonstrations in the city of Gothenburg. 

Marcus Rothoff, autonomous driving program director at Volvo Cars, said: “Autonomous vehicles contribute to urban space being used in a better way, since these vehicles require less space. At the same time, they contribute to improved road safety without the need for major infrastructure measures.”

Maria Stenström, CEO of Parkingcompany, City Of Gothenburg, said: “We are very excited about participating in this project, which allows us to meet future needs and challenges when it comes to building effective and sustainable parking facilities, which in turn promote new and sustainable travel behaviour.”

The project highlights the way that Volvo is focusing on how self-driving cars can improve the lives of individuals and benefit society, rather than the technology itself. It will form part of the Drive Me program, which will put 100 real customers in self-driving Volvo cars on public roads around Gothenburg, starting in 2017. Drive Me partners include the City of Gothenburg, the Swedish Transport Agency and Lindholmen Science Park.

The City of Gothenburg and Volvo Cars have produced a video entitled “City of Tomorrow” that envisages a city with self-driving cars where the streets are safer, less noisy and where there’s more “space for life”.