Volvo says its self driving cars are better than humans

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By Larry Banks

The race is on to be the first to put self-driving cars on the road, with BMW, Apple, Tesla and Google all aiming to be the first. However, it might in fact be the Swedish that manage the feat first.

Volvo to put 100 self-driving cars on the road

This week, Volvo announced that it plans to put 100 production ready self-driving cars on the road by 2017. The pilot will see the Swedish company’s self-driving tech get tested in real-world conditions rather than in the lab.

“We are entering uncharted territory in the field of autonomous driving,” Volvo senior vice president Dr Peter Mertens said.

“Taking the exciting step to a public pilot, with the ambition to enable ordinary people to sit behind the wheel in normal traffic on public roads, has never been done before.”

The 100 car pilot will take place in Volvo’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. It is reported by Yahoo that the city has given the company and customers approval to drive around selected streets with car’s autonomous driver software in control.

Volvo says that its autopilot is reliable enough to handle every aspect of driving, and that the system can handle everything from driving, gridlock and even emergencies. In order to do this, the car will include a sophisticated array of sensors, as well as cloud-based GPS and intelligent steering and braking technology. The sensors include seven radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, five cameras, and a laser scanner.

They work on harmony to allow the human “driver” to pretty much sit back and relax, although if any systems fail, there are backup redundant systems (like an aircraft has) ready to take over.

Volvo is apparently so confident in its system that the company’s engineers have said their systems is better than any human when there’s an emergency. “In a real emergency, however, the car reacts faster than most humans,” Volvo’s Dr. Erik Coelingh said.

Thankfully, in the rare case where the autopilot has to shut off, for example due to weather or a malfunction, the car will prompt the user to take control of the wheel – if they don’t do so within a set time, the car will bring itself to a safe stop.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos