According to Volvo, test tracks are too clinical and unrealistic for this purpose, and since the vehicles are designed to be driven by families anyway, it makes sense to have test families behind the self-turning steering wheels. Data will then be collected and analyzed by Thatcham Research, to help Volvo address any possible real-world issues that the users might discover.
The program, called Drive Me London, will start with a handful of cars in early 2017, and it will then expand in 2018 to include as many as 100 vehicles. It is undoubtedly the largest autonomous driving test program in Britain.
Volvo quotes independent research, saying that up to 90 percent of all accidents are caused by driver error or distraction, and by taking off the human factor, they should be able to cut down the number of accidents. Earlier, Volvo set the target of eliminating in-car injuries or death by the year 2020, and AD vehicles can be a way to reach that. Another benefit is reduced congestion, which in turn cuts emissions.
The Drive Me London program follows an earlier announcement of a similar Volvo program to be undertaken in China this year.