Do You Want to be Part of the Experiment?
There have been shows and movies made that feature a variety of drug trials, some in a humorous way and other a bit tragic. These trials are a way some people have used to make money when they feel desperate and want to participate in trying something new. The companies that offer these drug trials can have a goal and using humans as an experiment is typically the last action that happens before a drug is approved for the public to purchase and doctors to be able to write prescriptions for their patients to help them improve their health.
What does a drug trial have to do with the automotive marketplace? Volvo is now ready to release their new Drive Me project which is a human experiment on the road. There may be other ways to think about this project, and those who participate will be able to enjoy the great driving of a Volvo XC90 but these vehicles will be outfitted with the autonomous driving technology that’s supposed to be the next great offering from Volvo. This is certainly an aggressive way to test the market and see how this new driving system is used by the public.
Volvo will offer these vehicles in Gothenburg as the first offering of the self-driving technology for us to admire and enjoy. While Volvo has already given us their semi-autonomous driving feature in the XC90, this will now be a fully autonomous vehicle using what Volvo calls the Autonomous Driving Brain of the vehicle.
Why is Volvo releasing this experiment on the public? What they’re looking for is feedback and information from real customers that get to live with an autonomous vehicle. It’s easy enough for Volvo or any other car company to create situations in their factories where they think these vehicles will be called upon to perform, but to make every possible scenario is impossible. By collecting the data needed they can learn exactly how a customer will drive and learn what their needs will be on the road. By using several customers with these vehicles, Volvo will have more data and be able to tweak their autonomous technology to fit all driving systems before they take away the steering wheel and the ability to take over the driving in these vehicles.
The improvements over the previous system, which was the semi-autonomous driving system, this new system will use a hands off and fee off feature that does make it so the XC90 will be driving itself on the road to give you the ride you can enjoy, but you still have to be ready to take over since this is just a test and an experiment.
Do you want to be part of the Volvo XC90 Drive Me experiment? If so you’ll get the chance soon as Volvo has announced they plan to have these self-driving vehicles brought to the US in the near future although there isn’t a timeline that’s been announced as of yet.