TORSLANDA, Sweden, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The first vehicle in Volvo's ambitious self-driving car program left the assembly line and is ready for testing by the public, the company said.
Built in the Torslanda, Sweden, plant, the Volvo XC90 models will be placed in the hands of the Swedish drivers in 2017, and later with drivers in London and in China. The cars' hands-off and feet-off capability will be tested in specially designated "autonomous drive zones" in and around the city of Gothenburg.
Volvo's program of fully self-driving vehicles includes quickly putting cars to use by actual drivers, instead of engineers.
The cars in Volvos "Drive Me" project have massive computers in their trunks for processing information pertinent to road situations and are fitted with an array of sensors, radar and cameras. Except for numbers on the doors, the vehicle looks identical to standard XC90 models.
Volvo has committed to the self-driving concept through a partnership with the ride-sharing company Uber, and has partnered with parts supplier Automotiv to develop a software platform for autonomous driving which can be sold to other manufacturers. It also has an experimental self-driving truck in use in an underground mine, and its business plan includes the sale of fully autonomous vehicles to be sold to the public by 2021.