Volvo Looking To Offer Autonomous Driving Technology As "Premium" Option By 2021
Plans call for the option to cost $10,000by Kirby, on
Volvo has been one of the most aggressive automakers pushing for the development of autonomous driving technology. And if the Swedish automaker’s timetable unfolds according to plan, it could begin offering a self-driving feature on its vehicles as a “premium” option by 2021.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News that the company is shooting for this goal to get ahead of competitors that are focusing their attention in other aspects of the rapidly growing technology. The company isn’t just shooting for self-driving technology that works more like a driver assistance system, something that Tesla describes its Autopilot system of being. Instead, Volvo wants to go the full way by offering a technology that can literally drive on its own without the need for the driver to be on alert when the car goes semi-autonomous.
Samuelson himself admits that if Volvo wants to attach the “premium” label on this option, it needs to be on full autopilot, allowing the driver to “sit back and watch a movie or whatever.”
If the technology does become available, Volvo expects the autopilot premium option to cost an extra $10,000 to the vehicle’s cost. Owners are not emboldened to avail of the feature, but for those who would want one, a range-topping Volvo S90 T6 AWD Momentum that costs $52,950 today would be priced at $62,950. That said, there’s no telling how much Volvo’s models would cost five years from now and more importantly, whether that $10,000 price tag for the self-driving option is going to remain at that number when it does become available.
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Volvo’s multi-pronged plan towards an autonomous future is unfolding as we speak
Volvo’s not wasting its time in its development of autonomous driving technology. That much is clear considering the Swedish automaker has so many projects and partnerships with other companies, all of which are geared towards advancing the technology for a variety of mass market uses. It has robot taxis testing in Pittsburgh, for example, as part of its partnership with Uber Technologies.
The automaker also has a new partnership with Autoliv, a global automotive safety systems provider based out of Sweden. The goal of this partnership is to create advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) systems that will be incorporated into various Volvo products.
It’s also in the process of starting its Drive Me autonomous car experiment that puts the technology in the hands of customers as a way to get direct feedback from them and help them understand the machinations of the technology. Select areas in Gothenburg, Sweden will be the test bed for the experiment before expanding to other European cities like London and then going on the other side of the world in China, provided that it can negotiate to get the necessary permission, regulations, and infrastructure for the experiments to take place.
Suffice to say, Volvo has its hands full in pursuit of creating a an autonomous driving system that can be used for a variety of purposes, be it public transportation or commercial use. It’s the kind of commitment that helps validate the time and money being spent in becoming one of the first automakers to introduce self-driving cars that can function the way we all hoped it would be.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90 here.
Source: Automotive News