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Volvo's driverless car plans

Volvo XC90 2by3

Car maker Volvo has revealed plans to trial semi-autonomous vehicles on UK roads next year.

The Swedish firm said it would run the technology-assisted cars on major roads in early 2017 ahead of full driverless car tests a year later.

Volvo already offers various systems on its XC90, S90 and V90 cars that allow drivers to keep their cars in lane and a safe distance from cars in front.

It believes highly autonomous vehicles will be on the market by 2021. The Drive Me London trials will see first engineers, then families, using autonomous cars on public roads, although these are likely to be limited to motorways and major A-roads with clear white lines.

Volvo president and chief executive Håkan Samuelsson said: “Autonomous driving (AD) represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.

“There are multiple benefits to AD cars. That is why governments globally need to put in place the legislation and infrastructure to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible. The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need governmental help.”

The UK Government has been a vocal advocate of autonomous vehicles.

Chancellor George Osborne outlined plans at last month’s Budget to conduct trials of driverless cars on roads by 2017.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin earlier this year proclaimed that a transport “revolution” would soon see driverless, electric vehicles slash air pollution, reduce the need for new roads and almost eliminate traffic accidents. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It will be essential for AD cars to be restricted to roads where road markings are clear and bold. Nowadays on many roads white lines are very faint or have totally disappeared and not just the lines, also Give Way marks, mini roundabout white circles, zebra crossings etc. In addition, road signs that are dirty or covered by vegetation are commonplace. It is clear that cuts to road maintenance funding are very deep.

    Roger R Ball BSc CEng FICE

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