Ask people if they would trust a computer over a person behind the wheel, and you’re likely to get a variety of somewhat concerned responses. Most of us would probably say that we’re good drivers, it’s everyone else who should never step behind the wheel again.
While the idea of Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are nothing new (anybody remember “The Jetsons”?), actually having them out on public roads is a pretty radical concept. Volvo plans to have 100 of them out on the roads in Sweden by 2017. They’ll be testing the user interface and cloud technology of their XC90 model next year.
It’s natural to have a little skepticism mixed in with curiosity, about AVs being out on the highway, a recent report though, said the U.S. could save close to half a trillion dollars with a full fleet of AVs. People get drunk and drive, computers don’t.
Volvo’s “Drive Me” campaign will put the cars on the roads of Gothenburg and will aim to test when drivers feel the need to control the wheel versus when they’re happy to let the computer take control. “The self-driving technology used in the pilot allows you to hand over the driving to the car when the circumstances are appropriate,” according to Volvo president Håkan Samuelsson from a press release. The project is endorsed by the Swedish government and aims to test the societal benefits of AVs.
Even if self-driving cars make you nervous and you’re sure you could do better, the fact that the car will be able to drop you off, while it looks for a parking space at the mall is pretty cool.