Volvo admits that it doesn't have all the answers when it comes to autonomous cars.
“We regard the 360c as a conversation starter, with more ideas and answers to come as we learn more,” Levenstam said. “We do not know what the future of autonomous drive will hold, but it will have a profound impact on how people travel, how we design our cities and how we use infrastructure.”
One key area of concern Volvo has about robocars is how they will communicate with one another.
The automaker says the 360c addresses this challenge with a combination of external sounds, colors, visuals, movements, as well as combinations of these tools, to communicate the vehicle's intentions to other road users. The aim is to make sure it is always clear what the car will do next.
“We strongly believe this communication method should be a universal standard, so all road users can communicate easily with any autonomous car, regardless of which maker built it,” Volvo Cars Safety Center Vice President Malin Ekholm said in a release. “But it is also important that we do not instruct others what to do next, in order to avoid potential confusion. Our research shows this is the safest way for fully autonomous cars to communicate with other road users.”