China wants to lead the way on self-driving cars. And Volvo is here to help.
Volvo Cars announced in Beijing, China Thursday morning local time that it plans to test 100 autonomous cars on public roads in normal traffic conditions in cities across the country.
The plan follows a similar venture called “Drive Me,” in which 100 self-driving cars will be leased to consumers in Gothenburg, Sweden by 2017.
Volvo believes the introduction of autonomous driving technology promises to reduce car collisions. Additionally, self-driving cars that can communicate with each other have the ability to free up congested roads and reduce pollution by working together — two issues currently plaguing many Chinese cities.
Simply more than a life-saver, autonomous cars will allow occupants to spend their commute relaxing, reading or watching their favorite shows.
It’s for those reasons that the Chinese government wants to be a pioneer in autonomous car technology and has partnered with Volvo. Moreover, it aims to be such a championing force in self-driving cars that it essentially owns it.
At first glance, it might seem strange that a Swedish carmaker would help China achieve its lofty goals of self-driving car dominance. However, there are many factors influencing Volvo’s announcement.
First off, Volvo has committed that “no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by the year 2020.” Autonomous driving cars is the sure-fire way to achieve that.
What’s more, Volvo Cars is owned by Chinese carmaker Geely. So it’s essentially a home-country play for Volvo’s parent company.
No matter how you slice it, the more autonomous tech the carmaker can test, the sooner self-driving cars will be ready for widespread rollout.
Bonus: Take a look at Volvo’s keyless smartphone app