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Manufacturers Unveil The Latest Driverless Car Technology

By raccars Published

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Volvo and Nissan have recently unveiled their latest autonomous driving technologies, keen to beat other manufacturers to driverless car production success.

For a long time manufacturers have been devoting considerable resources to alternative fuel technology, increasing the range and efficiency of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles to make them more practical and appealing to consumers. However, at the same time they are all competing in another technological race; to be the first to put driverless car technology into production.

Nissan and Volvo have recently announced their plans to bring new autonomous driving technology to the market.

Nissan launching new driverless car tech in 2017

Nissan has committed to adding new autonomous driving technology to its line-up within the next two years, according to David Moss, the company's vehicle design and development vice president. Nissan has various systems undergoing a rigorous testing process at the moment, with a view to producing a completely autonomous car.

Nissan is building upon existing autonomous technologies and focusing on their integration with its current vehicles rather than developing and building a stand-alone driverless car from the ground up. The firm claims its aim is to enhance the driving experience by cutting out boring activities such as negotiating slow-moving traffic, while still allowing keen drivers to enjoy the thrill of the open road.

The first step on its autonomous driving calendar is a traffic jam mode to be used in single lane scenarios. Within a few years this is set to be joined by a highway mode, capable of navigating multi-lane traffic. The new technology will initially be installed in the firm's crossover vehicles in higher specification models, but Nissan plans to make autonomous driving available across its whole range at a later stage. The phased release is partly a question of resources but also, it claims, of user acceptance, which Nissan believes is a step by step process. Nissan will be developing its driverless car systems in conjunction with its electric vehicle technology.

Volvo's XC90 going autonomous

Meanwhile Volvo has announced that testing will begin in Sweden on 100 autonomous XC90s in 2017. The firm has released pictures showing how the driverless car technology, called IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, can be easily engaged and disengaged at the driver's will using a pair of steering wheel paddle controls. The paddles flash green when autonomous driving can be engaged, and the driver simply pulls both paddles at the same time to allow the car to take control.

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot reads the road and surrounding environment using a series of cameras, radars and laser sensors.

If circumstances dictate that autonomous driving is no longer possible, the car's computer gives the driver a 60 second warning to take over control of the vehicle. Should the driver fail to do so, the vehicle will be brought automatically to a stop. The system can be used on certain stretches of road which have received approval for autonomous driving, and which will be shown on the car's satellite navigation system when a route is entered before the journey starts.

Volvo has been working hard to make the user interface simple and secure to allow for seamless transitions between autonomous and driver control.

The 2017 trials are part of a project called 'Drive Me', being conducted in the Swedish city of Gothenburg and are due to last until 2019. The 100 XC90s used will be privately owned and Volvo will be looking for suitable customers in 2016. Should all go as planned, Volvo plans to introduce the IntelliSafe Auto Pilot system to the market by 2020.

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