Volvo has started delivering autonomous prototypes to select families throughout Sweden as the carmaker looks to further develop its self-driving technologies.
Earlier this year, the company revealed that roughly 100 people will receive self-driving Volvos as part of the Drive Me program. The first two families to take delivery of their specially-equipped XC90s were the Hains and the Simonovskis, both residing in Gothenburg.
During their ownership, the families will be required to keep their hands on the steering wheel and monitor the SUV at all times. Over time, Volvo will introduce more advanced assisted driving functionalities and the drivers will receive special training. Initially, these tests of the more advanced XC90s will take place in controlled environments.
Beyond the obvious benefit of increasing the number of miles Volvo’s fleet of autonomous prototypes have accrued, the program will provide engineers with invaluable data about how the families interact with their cars.
“Drive Me is an important research project for Volvo Cars. We expect to learn a lot from engaging these families and will use their experiences to shape the development of our autonomous driving technology, so that by 2021 we can offer our customers a fully autonomous car,” senior vice president of Volvo R&D Henrik Green said.