Το σύστημα είναι μέρος του προγράμματος SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) και όταν βγει στην αγορά το 2014, θα μπορεί να κινείται με ταχύτητες έως και 50 χλμ/ώρα Αργότερα θα αναβαθμιστεί ώστε να μπορεί να κινηθεί και σε μεγαλύτερες ταχύτητες.
Volvo Car Corporation takes the strain out of the daily commute with a technology that automatically follows the vehicle in front
Volvo Car Corporation has taken another step on the journey towards autonomous driving – self-driving vehicles – by demonstrating a new traffic jam assistance system. The new system, whereby the car automatically follows the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues up to 50 km/h, will be ready for production in 2014.
“This technology makes driving more relaxed in the kind of monotonous queuing that is a less attractive part of daily driving in urban areas. It offers you a safe, effortless drive in slow traffic,” says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Corporation.
The traffic jam assistance function is an evolution of the current Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology, which was introduced in the all-new Volvo V40 earlier in 2012.
The driver activates the traffic jam assistance function by pushing a button. When active, the engine, brakes and steering respond automatically. The Adaptive Cruise Control enables safe, comfortable driving by automatically maintaining a set gap to the vehicle in front, at the same time as the steering is also controlled.
“The car follows the vehicle in front in the same lane. However, it is always the driver who is in charge. He or she can take back control of the car at any time,” says Peter Mertens.
Commuting lasts longer than the annual vacation
Slow-moving queues are part of urban commuting. Americans spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This is more than the average two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) many Americans have per year.
Drivers in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles spend even longer times queuing to and from work every day.
“The situation is of course similar, or even worse, in major urban areas all over the world. Our aim with the traffic jam assistance is to make commuting a bit less stressful for the driver,” says Peter Mertens.
Aiming for leadership
Autonomous driving – with steering, acceleration and/or braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction – is a major focus area in Volvo Car Corporation’s development work.
“Our aim is to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and pioneering technologies that will reach actual customers. Making these features reliable and easy to use is crucial to boosting customer confidence in self-driving cars,” says Peter Mertens.
The low-speed traffic jam assistance system is the second technology for autonomous driving recently presented by Volvo Car Corporation. A few weeks ago, the company demonstrated the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), which focuses on platooning in highway and motorway traffic at speeds of up to 90 km/h.
Positive consumer response
Volvo Car Corporation’s firm focus on designing cars around people includes investigating consumer attitudes towards self-driving cars.
In 2011, Volvo Car Corporation invited a number of premium car owners to evaluate future driver support technologies at the company’s test track, including an early traffic jam assistance prototype. One of the guests commented: “A perfect support for making commuting less stressful. It will take away the cramps and knee pain that I get when constantly having to adjust speed and distance in slow-moving queues. ”
Introduced in 2014
The traffic jam assistance technology will be part of Volvo Car Corporation’s new Scalable Product Architecture, SPA, which will be introduced in 2014.
“SPA is a stand-alone Volvo project that will enable us to take the company’s technological future into our own hands. Most of our volume will be based on this new architecture. It will give us a high degree of commonality and the right scale of economy to be competitive in the future,” says Peter Mertens.
Volvo Car Corporation urges seamless, federal framework for regulating autonomous vehicles
Entering the field of autonomous driving – self-driving vehicles – is the next step in Volvo Car Corporation’s development of the world’s safest cars. “Autonomous driving has potential for improving road safety, traffic flow and fuel economy. To make this happen it is important to avoid a patchwork of various state regulations,” stated Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Corporation, at a seminar in Washington, D.C., yesterday.
The seminar “Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles,” which was arranged by the Embassy of Sweden and Volvo Car Corporation, focused on the policy opportunities and challenges of autonomous vehicles.
“Volvo Car Corporation aims to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and pioneering technologies that will reach the customers. We already have several driving assistance systems in the pipeline. But the legal situation for this technology still remains unclear,” said Peter Mertens, adding: “We want to address this by supporting efforts to legalize testing of autonomous systems as well as initiating a constructive co-operation with policymakers.”
Concern about legal patchwork
Peter Mertens expressed Volvo Car Corporation’s concern that a state-by-state approach in the United States could lead to a patchwork of different laws and regulations.
“It is important that the U.S. Government underlines that regulation of motor vehicle safety systems and components is their jurisdiction. NHTSA research on the issues associated with autonomous vehicles could be the first step toward adoption of performance ratings on technology for autonomous driving,” he said. “It is also crucial that state legislation doesn’t restrict the use of active safety and support systems. They should be explicitly excluded from the definition of autonomous driving,” Peter Mertens added.
Autonomous systems ready in 2014
Volvo Car Corporation is already spearheading the development of innovative safety technologies that help drivers avoid accidents.
The first focus areas in the development of autonomous systems are slow-moving queues and, in a longer perspective, road trains on motorways and fully autonomous vehicles. A system for traffic jam assistance will be introduced already in 2014.
“Allowing the car to act automatically is crucial when moving towards our vision that future cars will not crash at all. Our present systems for auto braking, lane keeping aid and adaptive cruise control could be described as the first steps. Now, we are moving towards technologies with a higher degree of autonomous driving in normal traffic situations,” said Peter Mertens.
Benefits for society and drivers
On top of improved safety, the technology offers several advantages:
- Autonomous driving can cut fuel consumption significantly.
- It has the potential for shortening travel times by improving traffic flow.
- It paves the way for more freedom behind the wheel by creating possibilities for the driver to safely focus on something else while the car is driven autonomously.
“The average driver spends about 250 hours commuting every year. We believe that being able to use the time more efficiently will benefit both the individual and the society,” stated Peter Mertens.