Volvo to roll out Ride Pilot – unsupervised self-driving system to debut in California on next flagship SUV –

Volvo to roll out Ride Pilot – unsupervised self-driving system to debut in California on next flagship SUV –


Volvo Cars will be rolling out Ride Pilot, its first application of an unsupervised autonomous driving feature in California, United States that will be made available to its customers in the automaker’s forthcoming electric SUV. This is to be revealed later this year, said Volvo, and Ride Pilot will feature in the SUV as an add-on subscription.

The software for Ride Pilot has been developed by autonomous driving software firm Zenseact in conjunction with Volvo Cars’ team of in-house developers, along with developers from technology partner Luminar. The setup is comprised of more than two dozen sensors – including a Lidar sensor by Luminar – which work in conjunction with the developed software, said Volvo.

The Lidar sensor will complement five radars, eight cameras and sixteen ultrasonic sensors in the forthcoming flagship SUV, and will receive continuous roll-outs of over-the-air software updates to ensure full redundancy for Ride Pilot, the carmaker added.

According to Volvo, Ride Pilot taking over driving duties will enable the vehicle’s driver to engage in “secondary activities like reading, writing, working or socialising,” and thus help drivers arrive at their destinations rested by having reduced their mental strain from driving, particularly from going through heavy traffic.

The future flagship SUV has been reported to be an all-electric replacement for the XC90 said to be called the Embla, named after first female in Norse mythology.

While the software and sensor combination will be fitted to the forthcoming flagship SUV from the outset, Ride Pilot will only be enabled in the vehicle and be available to customers after its has undergone Volvo’s internal verification and testing protocols, the automaker said, which includes validation of the technology’s safety on highways in a range of varying conditions.

The upcoming Volvo Embla will be heavily inspired by the Concept Recharge (pictured)

The testing process has commenced with the testing of its autonomous driving functions with Zenseact on roads in Sweden, along with data collection throughout Europe and the United States. Volvo plans to begin testing in California, subject to approvals, as the climate, traffic conditions and regulatory framework of the state provide a favourable environment in which to introduce autonomous driving, said Volvo.

The Embla will carry on from where the current XC90 left off, and continue to be a popular family car in the United States as well as in Europe, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in November last year; Samuelsson is set to be succeeded by Jim Rowan from March 21 this year.

The Embla is understood to be built on a new platform called SPA2, although the new SEA architecture by Geely could also be used.

“We are proud to announce the planned US launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature, as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety. Having Zenseact’s brand new AD software and Luminar’s Lidar standard in our new fully electric SUV is a game-changer for Volvo Cars, as well as for automotive safety and autonomous driving,” said Volvo Cars head of R&D Mats Moberg.

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