Details of this new study are scarce – Volvo doesn't mention a start date or even a list of locations where it will conduct testing. The company is negotiating with "interested cities" in a bid to score permission, appropriate regulations, and the proper infrastructure. According to Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson, it's that last one that's proved most difficult regardless of the region.
"There are multiple benefits to AD [autonomous driving] cars," Samuelsson in an official statement. "That is why governments need to put in place the legislation to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible. The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need governmental help."
"As soon as possible" might still be a long time from now. Volvo announced a similar real-world, autonomous test in early 2015 that'd put 100 autonomous vehicles on the roads of Gothenburg, Sweden. That study won't start until 2017. The different driving atmospheres of Sweden and China, though, mean different test objectives. The Gothenburg study will focus more on public perception, the economic benefit of AD, passenger safety, and consumer confidence. The efforts in China will look at pollution, congestion, and how much time AD can save.
This latest autonomous vehicle push is part of Volvo's drive to eliminate traffic deaths in its vehicles by 2020. Volvo did not name which of its vehicles would take part in the study.