UK needs to be more like the Nordics to push forward autonomous car development, Volvo boss says
Self-driving cars will fail to become a common sight any time soon unless more countries look to work together to develop the technology, one of the world’s leading car-makers has claimed.
Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo, believes that organisations such as the EU are being distracted by the individual needs of its members, meaning that new technology such as autonomous driving fails to get the proper investment it needs.
Specifically, Samelsson is now calling for the EU and United States to adopt the ‘Nordic Model’, which prizes promoting relationships between the public and private sectors, in order to cut down on constricting regulation and make self-driving cars a reality.
“AD is not just about car technology. We need the right roads, the right rules and the right laws. We also need to ensure AD technologies are harmonised as much as possible to avoid unnecessary development costs, so that an AD car in the US is as safe and as legal as an AD car in Europe or Asia,” Samuelsson will tell a conference on autonomous driving at the Swedish parliament later this week.
Swedish-based Volvo believes that the Nordic Model will greatly accelerate the development of AD, as it is “natural” that different parties work together to push new technology forward
The company is also encouraging moves by regulators and car makers in the US and Europe to develop AD cars and infrastructure, but Samuelsson says that all parties need to work more constructively together to avoid patchwork regulations, technological duplication and needless expense.
Samuelsson stated in the US last year that Volvo will accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode, making it one of the first car makers in the world to make such a promise.
“Our starting point is that both the public and private sectors stand to benefit from new technologies and industries, so it is better to build bridges and work together than to all go in different directions,” he will say.
“Autonomous driving (AD) has the potential to revolutionise car safety,” Samuelsson adds, “This technology saves lives.”
“AD also improves traffic flows, enhances air quality and saves people time. This technology should be introduced as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to get everyone involved working together at the earliest opportunity.”
Volvo is looking to accelerate this development via the launch of its ‘Drive Me’ project, which will see 100 real Swedish families in Gothenburg using AD cars on real roads, making it the world’s largest and most advanced public AD technology project.
The announcement is the latest in a number of Volvo initiatives that look to mould driving and technology closer together.
The company has already connected many of its cars in its home country to a cloud platform that shares information on weather and road conditions, greatly improving driving safety across Sweden.
Back in November, it also launched what it called the world’s first in-car delivery service, allowing goods to be delivered directly to a customer’s vehicle thanks to a single-use digital key.