Volvo to start self-driving car initiative in China

Volvo to start self-driving car initiative in ChinaSelf-driving cars are said to be the wave of the automotive future, and Volvo is one of the many automakers hoping to be at the forefront of what could be an autonomous car revolution. The company, after all, believes that these cars can ease traffic congestion, and that such vehicles are safer than human-operated cars. Now, the Swedish automaker is planning to kick off a major autonomous driving initiative in China, as it will be inviting the country’s drivers to test these cars in a number of regular driving situations.

Volvo is hoping that the trial will include about 100 vehicles at most, and that it will be working closely with officials of Chinese cities to see which of these cities can allow the automaker to test its vehicles in the right conditions, and give them the right permissions and rules that would allow these tests to run smoothly. In addition, Volvo hopes that the rise of autonomous driving tech will decrease the number of collisions, while also easing traffic, reducing pollution, and letting drivers properly utilize their time in their vehicles.

“It has to be a big city where there are lots of consumers… wasting an hour a day in the cars (sitting in traffic),” said Volvo Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson. “That’s I think realistically where this function can be sold commercially.” He did not make any mention of which exact cities the automaker is targeting, or the costs that may be involved in its new initiative.

Volvo has long been known for its reputation of making some of the safest cars in the industry, and had most notably invented seat belts in 1959. That’s why it’s not surprising that it is among the first automakers to develop self-driving car systems, with safety in mind. In addition to the company’s other plans, it has pledged to ensure that there will be no injuries or fatalities involved with its cars by the year 2020.