Volvo Car Group initiates world unique Swedish pilot project with self-driving cars on public roads
Volvo Cars will play a leading role in the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
The ground-breaking project ‘Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility’ is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg.
The ‘Drive Me’ project is endorsed by the Swedish Government. The aim is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.
“Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars’ as well as the Swedish government’s vision of zero traffic fatalities. This public pilot represents an important step towards this goal,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group. “It will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.”
The pilot will involve self-driving cars using approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads in and around Gothenburg. These roads are typical commuter arteries and include motorway conditions and frequent queues.
“Our aim is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe ‘harbour’ if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control,” explains Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group.
The ‘Drive Me’ project will focus on a number of areas, such as:
- How autonomous vehicles bring societal and economic benefits by improving traffic efficiency, the traffic environment and road safety
- Infrastructure requirements for autonomous driving
- Typical traffic situations suitable for autonomous vehicles
- Customers’ confidence in autonomous vehicles
- How surrounding drivers interact smoothly with a self-driving car
The project will commence in 2014 with customer research and technology development, as well as the development of a user interface and cloud functionality. The first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
Recognising that growing urbanisation continues to put pressure on transport systems in and around urban areas all over the world, ‘Drive Me’ addresses the need to join forces in the quest to develop a sustainable society and mobility.
“The public pilot will provide us with a valuable insight into the societal benefits of making autonomous vehicles a natural part of the traffic environment. Smart vehicles are part of the solution, but a broad societal approach is also necessary to offer sustainable personal mobility in the future. We believe that this cross-functional co-operation can give this development a boost,” says Erik Coelingh.
“Sweden has developed unique co-operation between the authorities, the industry and the academic community. This has resulted in a world-leading position in traffic safety. Autonomous vehicles and a smarter infrastructure will bring us another step towards even safer traffic and an improved environment. It will also contribute to new jobs and new opportunities in Sweden,” says Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure.
Enriching city life
The ‘Drive Me’ project will help define the role of self-driving vehicles in future city planning. By paving the way for more efficient land use they can contribute to reducing infrastructure investments. Self-driving vehicles can also enrich city life in other ways, such as by lowering emissions and thus improving air quality and traffic safety.
Making Gothenburg the arena for this unique public pilot is a strong demonstration of the city’s aim to pioneer the development of efficient, clean and safe urban transportation systems.
Autonomous driving will give significant consumer benefits. It will fundamentally change the way we look at driving cars. As a driver in the future, you will be able to plan your drive with a mix of autonomous and active driving, making your daily journey more efficient.
Autonomous driving will pave the way for more efficient time-management behind the wheel. You will be able to interact safely via phone or tablets or simply choose to relax.
“The self-driving technology used in the pilot allows you to hand over the driving to the car when the circumstances are appropriate,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Prepared for autonomous drive
The vehicles in the pilot project are defined as Highly Autonomous Cars, according to the official definition by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) in Germany. In practical terms this means that the responsibility is handed over to the vehicle, which can handle all driving functions at the driver's discretion. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficiently comfortable transition time.
The 100 Volvo cars driven by customers will be new models developed on the company’s upcoming Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The architecture is prepared for the continuous introduction of new support and safety systems all the way to technologies that enable highly autonomous drive. The first SPA model will be the all-new Volvo XC90, which will be introduced in 2014.
Autonomous parking included
The project also includes fully automated parking, without a driver in the car. This allows the driver to walk away from the car at the parking entrance while the vehicle finds a vacant spot and parks by itself.
“Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users,” says Erik Coelingh.
Autonomous Driving according to Volvo Car Group: benefits for society and consumers alike
Despite massive improvements in traffic safety, 1.2 million people are still killed in traffic every year. In 2007, this spurred Volvo Cars, as the only automotive manufacturer in the world, to launch a safety vision stating that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020. The company’s vision is that cars should not crash.
“Pioneering technologies involving extensive use of driver support systems will not only help us realize our safety vision but also bring strong societal and consumer benefits,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.
Modern society faces extensive future challenges to improve safety, and reduce pollution and global CO2 emissions. Autonomous driving can cut fuel consumption by up to 50 per cent in certain situations. Impaired mobility and congestion can be added to the list of challenges.
“Volvo Cars’ long-standing human-centric approach and commitment to safety gives us a different starting point from other car manufacturers when we address the field of autonomous driving,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Allowing the car to act automatically is crucial when moving towards the vision that future cars will not crash at all. The present systems for auto braking, lane keeping aid and adaptive cruise control are examples of the first steps towards autonomous driving. Now, Volvo Cars is moving towards technologies with a higher degree of autonomous driving in normal traffic situations.
Autonomous driving in traffic queues
The first autonomous features will be introduced in the all-new Volvo XC90 by the end of 2014: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with steer assist automatically follows the vehicle ahead in queues. Other features include road edge and barrier detection with steer assist, which detects if the car is about to drive off the road and autonomously applies steering torque to bring the vehicle back on track.
Paving the way for highly autonomous cars – a new dimension of driving
The next step is technology that follows the car in front at higher speeds, allowing the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel while still surveying the drive. This in turn paves the way for the introduction of Highly Autonomous Cars that hand over responsibility to the vehicle, which handles all driving functions at the driver’s discretion.
This sophisticated self-driving technology will be tested and evaluated in the ‘Drive Me’ project in Volvo Car Group’s Swedish hometown of Gothenburg. In 2017, 100 customers will join the project using 100 self-driving Volvo cars driving on selected public roads in and around the city.
The world unique project is a partnership between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The ‘Drive Me’ project is endorsed by the Swedish Government. It will be initiated already in 2014 by a joint evaluation and development of test vehicles.
Strong consumer benefits
Autonomous driving will carry significant consumer benefits. It will fundamentally change the way we look at driving cars. As a driver in the future, you will be able to plan your drive with a mix of autonomous and active driving, allowing for efficient use of your daily journey. You could safely interact via phone or tablets or simply relax. Autonomous driving safely thereby paves the way for more efficient time-management behind the wheel.
Autonomous driving – with steering, acceleration and braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction – is already present in the modern transport society.
“Hardly anyone thinks twice about being in an airplane that flies on autopilot, but being in a car that drives by itself while the driver reads a book is still quite a revolutionary thought for many people,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Winter Tires Verses Standard Tires in Volvo’s Celebrity Snowdome Showdown
- Volvo Car UK invites Louise Thompson, star of TV’s Made in Chelsea, to demonstrate the effectiveness of winter tires when driving in snow
- Louise swapped Tignes for Tamworth to find a more exclusive way of returning to a snowcapped ski slope summit – a Volvo V40 fitted with winter tires
- Winter tires improve road safety and could reduce the 5,000 accidents caused by treacherous road conditions in 2012
As temperatures plummet and experts predict a harsh winter for the UK, Volvo Car UK invited ‘Made In Chelsea’ star and Volvo V40 driver Louise Thompson to demonstrate the effectiveness of winter tires for driving in snow.
Two identical Volvo V40 D2 hatchbacks – one on standard tires and another on winter tires – were ready to meet Louise at the Tamworth Snowdome, an indoor ski slope, where she attempted to drive each one up the slope to the summit.
The test was later repeated using snow socks – a quick-fix, temporary alternative to a full set of winter tires – to see if they could also improve on the performance of standard tires.
And the results were enough to dispel any remaining doubts about the advantages of fitting winter tires. During the test, Louise struggled to hit the five-meter mark on standard rubber but comfortably cruised past the 100-metre marker and continued on towards the summit as soon as she switched into the car fitted with winter tires.
“I’m amazed that it makes such a difference,” she said. “One of the cars has amazing grip and can get all the way to the top, while the other can barely move, so if you’re going to be driving in the snow, I definitely think it’s important to have winter tires.”
Millions of motorists are expected to find themselves driving in treacherous winter conditions in the coming weeks, and investing in a set of winter wheels and tires could help them avoid being stranded in the snow.
Winter tires are at their most effective when temperatures drop below seven degrees. With the Met Office having recorded average temperatures for winter 2012 of just 3.3 degrees, winter tires could have a huge role to play in reducing accidents and enhancing road safety.
They use a softer rubber compound than standard tires which helps them stay more flexible in cold weather. As a result, they can grip the road surface far more effectively, retaining stability and traction, and boosting driver confidence that the car is able to cope with the conditions.
To put it into numbers, if a car is traveling at just 19mph on ice, winter tires can reduce the average braking distance from 68 meters to 57 meters, while at 30mph on snow the figure falls from 43 meters to 35 meters
A second test saw fabric snow socks fitted over the standard tires in just a couple of minutes. This simple, low-cost upgrade transformed the standard tires’ performance and enabled the V40 to cruise up the slope with relative ease.
Both winter tires and snow socks could help reduce the 5,000 accidents the Department for Transport says were caused by treacherous winter weather in 2012.
Nick Connor, Volvo Car UK managing director said: “We wanted to demonstrate, in the most severe conditions possible, the effectiveness of having winter tires or snow socks fitted to your car. There’s definitely a degree of skepticism out there about how useful they can be, but this test dispels the myths once and for all.
“Winter tires and snow socks are available nationwide from our dealerships and we hope this has given motorists reason to believe they’re a worthwhile investment,” he added.
While winter tires are mandatory in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, fewer than 5% of new tires sold in the UK each year are winter tires.
Snow socks are available at participating authorized Volvo repairers for £55* and a set of four winter wheels and tires start from £600*.
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Car design proven to be on a par with the most basic of human emotions
Volvo Cars' world first experiment reveals the emotive power of car design
The first scientific experiment of its kind has revealed that beautiful car design can tangibly evoke a powerful range of feelings that are on a par with the most basic of human emotions. The scientific experiment, conducted by Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) in collaboration with EEG specialists Myndplay, tested respondents to analyse how the brain reacts emotionally to car design and how design aesthetics actually make us feel.
EEG is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp and measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. The experiment proved that humans react emotionally to the shape of a car, with men in particular seeming almost genetically programmed to like sleek design with beautiful lines.
The experiment was conducted to coincide with the launch of the Volvo Concept Coupé, the first expressive interpretation of Volvo’s new design strategy aimed at building a more emotive connection with the brand. Participants were asked to rate a series of images whilst wearing a dry sensor EEG headset that measured brainwave activity in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. The images included the new Volvo Concept Coupé alongside perceived ‘bad’ and ‘out-dated’ car design, visuals of happy/crying babies and men & women considered to be ‘beautiful’.
Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, said: “This survey finally proves what we’ve always suspected. Beautiful car design can elicit strong emotional responses ranging from a positive frame of mind to a sense of empowerment.”
- Men experienced more emotion whilst looking at images of beautiful car design than they did whilst looking at an image of a crying child
- Women displayed an emotional intensity to the picture of a crying baby which almost doubled that of male participants
- 74% of men claimed that good design made them feel positive
- Only 33% of women rated images of car design higher than an image of an attractive man
- 60% of men claimed that driving a beautiful car makes them feel confident and empowered
Dr David Lewis, a UK leader in the neuroscience of consumerism and communications stated: “Appreciating an aesthetically pleasing design is an experience which combines understanding and emotions. These are so closely intertwined that it is impossible to distinguish between them. Aesthetic experience involves a unity of sensuous delight, meaningful interpretation, and emotional involvement."
A parallel survey conducted by OnePoll revealed that 43% of men said that they found the car shape and design to be the most appealing aspect, over the interior, gadgets, wheels and engine. The front of the car was the most attractive feature for men, in contrast to the reaction from women where the rear of the car scored the most highly.
The only image both men and women shared the same reaction was that of a crying baby. They both expressed the highest emotional intensity and the highest negative score of all images. Women displayed the most emotional response to the crying baby, whereas men demonstrated more emotion looking at pictures of beautiful car design than to the picture of the distressed child.
Click here to explore the Volvo Concept Coupé in 3D and create your own personalised heat map: www.EmotionOfDesign.com
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World debut for a new Volvo V60 engineered by Polestar
The New Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar are Here
- S60 and V60 model
- 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds
- Top Speed of 155 mph
- Limited Edition
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Nov. 26, 2013) – The new Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar are here, set for sale on four continents around the world in 2014. The countries set for the S60 and V60 Polestar include Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States, with further markets and final production numbers to be revealed next year.
“We are proud to present the S60 and V60 Polestar. A car developed for those who share our passion at Polestar: That driving really matters and that a true driver’s car should enable you to enjoy driving all year, on all roads and in all weather conditions. This is a driver’s car for real life,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.
“With the introduction of the V60 model, we are proud to continue the heritage of fast Volvo wagons, such as the racing 850 BTCC, a tradition deeply rooted among Volvo enthusiasts,” continued Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.
“Our motorsport cooperation with Polestar has been going on for almost two decades and it is rewarding to see how Polestar can use their experiences from motorsport to engineer such an exciting and competent car,” said Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director at Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars).
“It is very satisfying to see how Polestar has been able to combine this level of driving performance in their interpretation of the S60 and V60 with maintained original service program, class leading safety features and certified fuel and emission ratings. Customers buying this car will get the best from both Polestar and Volvo,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales & Customer Service at Volvo Cars.
The car is based on the latest generation Volvo S/V60 and marks the start of an extended Polestar production model range. Development of the car has been ongoing during the past years, picking up from the C30 and S60 Concept cars and the Australian S60 Polestar. Thousands of development miles have been driven on twisty mountain roads, on the Autobahn and test tracks from the south of Europe to the frozen north of Sweden.
“We have continued our work to create a true driver’s car, which is not limited only to a few specific driving conditions, but enjoyable on everything from your favorite winding roads to taking the family for a long journey, no matter summer or winter. And in my view, we have gotten very close to our goals, something that of course is best experienced firsthand behind the wheel,” said Robert Dahlgren, Polestar racing and test driver.
Polestar performance engineering
Upgrades include modifications made to increase rigidity of the chassis to cater for the 80 percent stiffer springs relative to the standard S60 R-Design. These changes, combined with the tailored high-performance Öhlins shock absorbers and 20-inch Polestar wheels, result in a precise, yet comfortable, driving experience.
The brake system has undergone substantial modifications. Most visible are the 371 millimeter ventilated front discs and six-piston Brembo calipers, guaranteeing a high level of braking performance.
To reflect the increased performance of the S/V60 Polestar, positive aerodynamic effects have been achieved through subtle, yet efficient, modifications based on data from tests in the Volvo Cars wind tunnel. The changes are visible with the front splitters, optimizing the airflow underneath the car, as well as a new rear spoiler and diffusor, increasing down force.
The six-cylinder, turbocharged T6 engine has undergone extensive development with a new twin-scroll turbo and intercooler to produce 350 hp at 5700 rpm and 369 lbs.-feet already at 2800 rpm. The engine breathes through a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system, making for a throaty engine note.
The six-speed automatic gearbox features a new paddle shift system that together with the Polestar-developed, Haldex four-wheel drive system takes the car from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The gearbox as well as the four-wheel drive system and traction control system has been recalibrated to provide an active driving experience and maximum grip in all situations.
The interior has been reworked with new details, materials and Polestar colors, such as the steering wheel, seats and more, with the sole purpose of increasing driver support and control.
“All in all, we have taken a major step forward in all areas, from chassis and engine to interior and exterior details. Development work has been focused on the overall package in order to create a car that you want to use every day, both from a practical and emotional perspective,” said Henrik Fries, S/V60 Polestar Technical Project Manager.
Sales and delivery
Polestar will begin delivery of the new S60 and V60 Polestar in June 2014 to the local markets.
“We are all very excited and proud over our launch of two new cars as yet another step toward a range of Polestar engineered Volvo cars available for people like us around the world. To do it together with Volvo, one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, is greatly satisfying and we look forward to an exciting future,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.
Visit www.nextpolestar.com for more information.
0-100 km/h 4.9 sec
0-200 km/h 17.7 sec
80-120 km/h 4.7 sec
Top speed 250 km/h / 155 mph – Electronically limited
Polestar Öhlins shock absorber system
Polestar bespoke rims, 8x20” ET53 with 245/35R20 tires
6-cylinder inline T6 engine, 2953 cc
257 kW (350 hp) @ 5700 rpm
500 Nm (369 lbs.-feet) @ 2800-4750 rpm
Max 6500 rpm
New twin-scroll Borg Warner turbo
Polestar 2.5 inch stainless full-flow exhaust system with twin 3.5 inch tail pipes
S60 Polestar: 1752 kg
V60 Polestar: 1822 kg
AWF21 automatic gearbox with paddle shift system
Polestar transmission calibration for faster gearshifts, launch control and curve-hold functionality
Polestar Haldex calibration for more rear torque dynamic distribution
Polestar calibrated stability control system
Front: Polestar/Brembo 6 piston brake calipers
371x32 mm ventilated and floating Brembo discs
Rear: 302x22 mm ventilated disc