Volvo Plans To Test Its Self-Driving Cars In US

Apr 14, 2016 07:32 AM EDT | Victor Thomson

The Swedish carmaker Volvo is planning to test its self-driving cars on the public roads in the United States in a few years from now.

Automotive News reports that by the end of the decade Volvo autonomous cars could be on American streets. The company did not choose yet a specific site for its U.S. self-driving project.

The European automaker also announced recently its plans to launch and advanced self-driving experiment in China. Volvo will test up to 100 autonomous vehicles on the Chinese public roads.

According to a report that appears in the publication Hybrid Cars, Volvo North America CEO Lex Kerssemakers announced at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention that the European carmaker plans a similar self-driving project in the United States. Kerssemakers added that it is premature to announce a location for the U.S. self-driving project, since it is just in the early stages.

It is expected that the driverless car experiment in the U.S. will come at the very least some time after Volvo's experiment called the Drive Me pilot program, scheduled to start in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017. The Drive Me pilot program will include 100 self-driving XC90 SUVs tested in a controlled 31-mile route with ordinary people behind the wheel.

The pilot program will run until the spring of 2019. The driverless cars will operate "in real traffic in a real situation," being used on roads with a barrier between the lanes.

As for the U.S., with its abundant traffic and big cities, Kerssemakers sees a great opportunity for testing autonomous vehicles.  However, any tests in North America will start only after the Swedish Drive Me pilot program and it will represent Volvo's latest tests before bringing autonomous cars to production.

According to the publication Auto Blog, Volvo already offers its 2017 S90 car model that features semi-autonomous driving technology. However, the Swedish automaker is convinced that fully autonomous cars represent the future of the auto industry. 

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