Volvo Cars' Drive Me pilot program announced last week will push autonomous driving a step closer to reality by putting 100 self-driving XC90 crossovers on Swedish streets by 2017.
The vehicles will be driven by ordinary people in Volvo's home city of Gothenburg using a controlled 31-mile route. They'll be used for daily commuting on roads with a barrier between the lanes and operate "in real traffic in a real situation," the company said.
The trial will run until the spring of 2019.
"We are entering uncharted territory in the field of autonomous driving," said Peter Mertens, senior vice president of r&d at Volvo Car Group. "Taking the exciting step to a public pilot, with the ambition to enable ordinary people to sit behind the wheel in normal traffic on public roads, has never been done before."
Volvo is collaborating with Swedish authorities. The cars will be leased to drivers, but they won't be charged for the full cost of the technology. Volvo experts discussed the project during an Internet press conference.