Volvo’s new car does away with the driver

JonathanJune 24, 2013

Volvo Car Group has been making headlines for all the right reasons this week as it has unveiled its innovative new parking tool, perfect for businesses once it hits the car leasing market. Its concept car, in a feat to be demonstrated at media events throughout this week, finds and parks itself in a vacant space.

Although other cars have been released which will safely parallel park while a driver sits behind the wheel, this concept car takes things a step further. According to promotional footage, the concept car will drop the driver off at a predetermined ‘Pick up zone’, and then find its own way into the car park and identify a suitable space. Once found, the concept car will park itself. The whole time, the car interacts with its surroundings to avoid collisions with other cars or pedestrians.

The driver operates autonomous parking via a mobile phone device, and when the time comes to get back in the car, the vehicle will navigate its way back to the ‘pick up zone’.

“Autonomous Parking is a concept technology that relieves the driver of the time-consuming task of finding a vacant parking space. The driver just drops the vehicle off at the entrance to the car park and picks it up in the same place later,” says Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor Volvo Car Group.

He said that speed and braking have been adapted to ensure the car is safe while functioning autonomously, while in-built detection processes ensure it interacts safely with all other objects – moving or otherwise – in the parking environment.

“Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users,” Mr Broberg said.

Although that technology will not be available until 2014, businesses can lease the Volvo Xc90 Diesel Estate 2.4 D5 S 5dr for as little as £365.65 per month for a two year lease. The vehicle has CO2 emissions of 219g/km and a fuel economy of 34 mpg.

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