GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Dec. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Volvo Cars has established itself as one of the leaders in autonomous drive development, following its announcement earlier this year that its next generation of cars will be available as hardware ready for the technology from production start.
At the same time, the company is also looking further into the future, considering how autonomous cars will communicate with other road users in a driverless world. This research looks beyond current Highway Pilot plans, which aims to have cars drive safely on their own on chosen areas of highway that Volvo has verified as safe. To design this future, however, Volvo’s experts are seeking inspiration from the past.
“We make no secret about the fact that we see autonomous drive as the real long-term solution to avoid car accidents and to achieve traffic safety,” says Mats Moberg, Senior Vice President of R&D at Volvo Cars. However, as is always the case at Volvo Cars, safety is the first concern.
The Volvo 360c autonomous concept car, unveiled in 2018, provides one possible avenue of future development. It explores the type of safety-focused communication Volvo Cars believes will be essential to cars of the future when it comes to sharing the road with other road users, including other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The design for the 360c explores a combination of external sounds, lights, and even subtle movements to communicate the vehicle’s intentions to other road users.
While the Highway Pilot will only be available on highways verified safe, when future autonomous cars eventually enter environments shared with pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, the vehicles will need to navigate all these complexities on their own. Although the communication is intended for highly advanced cars that won’t be realised for years to come, the inspiration behind it is simple and age-old: the human body language.