Volvo Cars will introduce Ride Pilot, an unsupervised autonomous driving feature, to customers in California. As described by the automaker, Ride Pilot aims to make driving more enjoyable and convenient by freeing up more time while inside the vehicle. Once Ride Pilot has been verified as safe for highway use, it will become an add-on subscription for the company’s forthcoming fully electric SUV. This electric SUV, described as Volvo’s newest flagship vehicle, will be revealed later in 2022.
“We are proud to announce the planned U.S. launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety,” said Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars.
Full Sensor Suite
Key features of Ride Pilot include over-the-air software updates in combination with a state-of-the-art sensor suite. The software was developed jointly by Volvo, Zenseact, and Luminar. Volvo’s complete setup consists of more than two dozen sensors, including Luminar’s Iris LiDAR sensor. Luminar’s LiDAR sensor will complement five radars, eight cameras, and 16 ultrasonic sensors in Volvo’s upcoming fully electric SUV.
“Luminar’s vision is to democratize next-generation safety and autonomy, and we’re already seeing this become a reality with the first vehicle launching on Volvo’s new platform,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “With Luminar as standard on every vehicle, their next SUV has the opportunity to be the safest vehicle on the road.”
“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,” Moberg added.
Ride Pilot Availability
According to Volvo, Ride Pilot will only become available once passing a rigorous verification and testing process. As of this writing, Volvo and Zenseact are testing autonomous functionalities on roads in Sweden and collecting data across Europe and the United States. By the middle of 2022, Volvo intends to begin testing on roads in California, pending necessary approvals.
“Delivering a new safety standard for the industry requires a level of rigorous testing and verification that will expand globally,” said Ödgärd Anderson, CEO of Zenseact. “Zenseact AD software plays a key role in this new standard and in the journey towards zero collisions.”
Once verified as safe and all the required approvals have been secured, Volvo wants to introduce Ride Pilot in California first before gradually rolling the feature out in other markets and regions around the globe.