Volvo is fine-tuning its US expansion strategy and the vehicles that feature in its immediate launch plans include the XC90 SUV, the S90 sedan and the V90 Estate. At least, those are the ones that have been caught undergoing high-altitude tests in Colorado, Carscoop reported.
Interestingly, the XC90 has already be available in the country since last year though the S90 sedan is on the verge of a formal launch. The V90, however, is not likely to reach showrooms until next year, while the V90 Cross Country is only about to reach production lines.
Also, it's the V90 Cross Country alone that sported heavy claddings considering that it is the only model that is yet to make an international debut. In any case, what was evident with the Cross Country is its greater ground clearance as well as body claddings to give it more of a rugged look.
In another development, Volvo has announced it will launch its autonomous driving tech by 2021 and will be making it available to only those willing to churn out an extra $10,000 or so, mentioned AutoNews.
"To make a car even more premium, one of the most interesting things is a full autopilot," said Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson. "Not a supervised version, but really the one that you can sit back and watch a movie or whatever. That will make the premium car even more premium," Samuelsson further explained.
What that means is that the said luxury cars will still have steering wheels and everything else that allows for manual driving. The special 'Drive Me' feature which stands for autonomous driving in Volvo-speak will comes in as an option extra sort of thing so that users will have the option to drive themselves or invoke the autonomous driving mode to let the car drive on their own.
In contrast, Ford has stated the future autonomous cars will be devoid of any steering wheels or other driving aids and will be completely autonomous.
The Swedish automaker has already been testing autonomous driving tech using a specially modified XC90 equipped with sensors, cameras and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system mounted at the front. The automaker has also tied up with ride sharing company Uber for the same and the special XC90s are currently plying in Pittsburgh.
The Drive Me feature can be considered a further evolution of the Pilot Assist system already available with the company's current flagship range such as the XC90, S90, and V90. Initially, the feature will be rolled out in Sweden followed by London in 2017 along with a few Chinese cities thereafter.
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