Volvo’s Autonomous Driving Pilot Program to Begin in China

The future must finally be here, because Volvo has announced plans for real-world autonomous driving (AD) technology testing to begin, with China being named as the locale. Volvo is seeking commuters who drive into the city via the highway, as the highway offers some relatively easy driving, with no stoplights or intersections to navigate. China has a small advantage over the United States when it comes to implementing this technology, as its legislative process is slightly more nimble than the United States’, making the application of relevant laws and regulation an easier endeavor in China.

One of the major obstacles standing in the way of AD technology is the lack of legislative regulation and oversight already in place, meaning this emerging technology has no legal framework or common infrastructure to work within. Volvo’s president, Håkan Samuelsson, has said he is open to lawmakers and regulators offering legislation to address the inevitability of AD technology, but stressed the importance of collaboration between regulators and manufacturers, so there is no wasted time or redundant technology and so both the public and private sectors can benefit from this amazing innovation.

“AD [Autonomous Driving] is not just about car technology. We need the right rules and the right laws. It is natural for us to work together [with legislators]. Our starting point is that both the public and private sectors stand to benefit from new technologies and industries, so it is better to build bridges and work together than to all go in different directions.” –Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo

There has been no announcement about when and where this trial will take place, though another (smaller) trial has been announced for Gothenburg, Sweden, but it will only include certain stretches of road pre-approved by the government as acceptable sites for AD technology. Here at Byer’s Volvo, we can’t wait for AD technology to reach us full-swing, but it certainly is exciting watching the technology start to take its first real baby steps toward legitimacy in China and Sweden. While we wait for the automobiles of the future to truly arrive, come on into our Columbus showroom to check out all the great new and pre-owned Volvo vehicles we have to offer. They might not drive themselves, but with a car this fun, you won’t mind a bit.

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