Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson has been bullish about the automaker's desire to be the leader in autonomous driving. Today the company made another strong move that shows how serious it is about being No. 1 in this area.
Volvo released a 3-minute video that details the key steps in the transition to and from self-driving mode using its so-called “IntelliSafe Auto Pilot.”
Autonomous mode is activated and deactivated with specially designed paddles on the steering wheel.
The paddles flash when the auto pilot is ready, at which point the driver pulls both paddles simultaneously to activate autonomous mode.
The lights on the paddles then change to constant green, signaling that the car is driving itself.
When the driver needs to regain control of the car a 60-second countdown is displayed. If the driver doesn't use the paddles to regain control within this minute, the car will bring itself to a safe stop.
IntelliSafe Auto Pilot will debut on the 100 XC90s that will be part of Volvo's Drive Me project in Gothenburg starting in 2017. Drive Me will allow everyday motorists to test autonomous driving on approximately 50km of selected roads in the Swedish city. After the trial, Volvo plans to launch IntelliSafe Auto Pilot more widely.
Samuelsson has told me that Volvo has an advantage when it comes to autonomous driving because “the ones who will be credible in this area will be the ones who are credible in safety. That's why we want to be No. 1.”