Volvo promises self-driving cars by 2021

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Self-driving cars could hit the market as early as 2021, as part of a new initiative by Volvo Cars.

The move comes as the premium car maker this week announced a new partnership with artificial intelligence and visual computing company NVIDIA and automotive safety company Autoliv.

Under the plan the three companies will work alongside Zenuity, a shared venture co-owned by Volvo Cars and Autoliv, to develop Level 4 autonomous cars they hope will be available to the public within the next five years.

The companies hope to utilize a form of artificial intelligence known as deep learning within their fleet, that could help predict potential dangers and recognize other objects within an environment.

“This cooperation with Nvidia places Volvo Cars, Autoliv and Zenuity at the forefront of the fast- moving market to develop next generation autonomous driving capabilities.” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

Some of the anticipated benefits from Volvo’s deal are set to include:

  • Reaction software designed to avoid collisions by recognizing other objects
  • Technology used to monitor real-time traffic situations and plan a safe route that actively avoids potential hazards
  • The ability to “stitch” camera inputs together to create a 360-degree surround view of the car to prevent collisions and remove “blind spots”.

In addition to providing Volvo Cars with self -driving software, the partnership with Zenuity will allow Autoliv to on-sell the software to third party and independent dealers within their distribution.

“With NVIDIA, we now have full access to the leading AI computing platform for autonomous driving,” said Autoliv chief executive Jan Carlson.

“This cooperation will further advance our leading ADAS and autonomous driving offerings to the market.”

Nvidia’s alignment with Volvo comes after its Drive PX systems were used by Tesla in its Model S, X and upcoming Model 3 vehicles.

The platform was first introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2015.

Jensen Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, said: “Artificial intelligence is the essential tool for solving the incredibly demanding challenge of autonomous driving. We are building on our earlier collaboration with Volvo Cars to create production ready vehicles that will make driving safer, lead to greener cities and reduce congestion on our roads.”

Volkswagen and Toyota are both already working with Nvidia in a bid to make autonomous driving a reality by 2020.

For more information on Volvo’s autonomous driver project, click here.