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Volvo launches UK’s biggest self driving trial

One hundred autonomous cars will be out on the roads by 2018. Eek

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Volvo has revealed plans to undertake the UK’s largest ever test of autonomous car technology next year, as part of its ambitious pledge to ensure that “no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by the year 2020.”

The scheme – entitled ‘Drive Me London’ – will use ordinary families on public roads to collect data about its semi and fully automated driving systems.

Together with Thatcham Research, the aim is to ease congestion on busy roads and greatly reduce the number of traffic collisions that lead to injuries and fatalities.

“Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president of Volvo Cars. “The sooner autonomous cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”

Volvo claims that the number of road accidents could be reduced by up to 30 per cent, given than nine in every ten incidents are caused by driver error or distraction.

Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research, believes that autonomous cars that allow drivers to “drop out of the loop” for certain sections of their journey will be a common sight from 2021 onwards.

“Without doubt, crash frequency will also dramatically reduce,” he continued. “We’ve already seen this with the adoption of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) on many new cars. Research in the US by NHTSA predicts that by 2035, as a result of autonomous and connected cars, crashes will be reduced by 80 per cent.”

Shaw added that a reduced impact speed in unavoidable crashes would also reduce the severity of incidents on the road.

Drive Me London will officially get underway early in 2017, with an expansion planned in 2018 to add 100 autonomous cars to the existing semi-autonomous fleet.

Are you ready to let your car take over?

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