Volvo tells NSW Government laws should change to allow for autonomous cars here by 2021
Volvo has told the NSW Staysafe Committee’s that changes in technology mean autonomous cars could be on NSW roads by 2021… and that a test should be run.
VOLVO HAS told a NSW parliamentary inquiry into driverless cars and road safety that if state laws were to change, autonomous cars could safely navigate connected roads like the M5 and M7. Indeed, Volvo Australia’s managing director, Kevin McCann called on the NSW Staysafe Committee to push for a trial of autonomous vehicles in Sydney before 2021.
Volvo claims autonomous vehicles on NSW roads could help ease traffic congestion. The Swedish car maker told delegates at an autonomous vehicles conference in Adelaide last year that autonomous vehicles could be on Australian roads by 2020.
“Volvo believes it is feasible to conduct a safe driverless car trial in Sydney on a connected road system like the M5, M7, M2 and M1,” said Kevin McCann, Managing Director of Volvo Car Australia. “This would pave the way for changes to the road laws prior to self-driving cars going on sale in NSW. This is possible within five years if local roads laws are changed to accommodate the cars.
“Having self-driving cars on our major roads in Sydney is not science fiction. It’s reality, and it is approaching very fast. Volvo and other manufacturers have developed self-driving technology and safety features to a very advanced level.
“Major cities around the world, like London and Los Angeles, are planning for it right now. Sydney is Australia’s largest city with the most traffic, so it makes sense for the state government and transport agencies to start planning now for the technology that could be on our roads by 2021,” Mr McCann said.
Last year, Volvo was the headline act at an autonomous vehicles seminar in Adelaide, where an XC90 with autonomous driving functionality chauffeured the South Australia premier, Jay Wetherill along the Southern Expressway which had been closed to the general traffic.
In that test, the XC90 being sat in by the Premier was shadowed by two other XC90s to create test situations. The following is taken from our article on the test, “In the trial in Adelaide, cruise control maintained a set distance behind the vehicle in front (something you can already experience in a number of cars already on the market). When the vehicle ahead moved out of the lane, the XC90 resumed its set speed (in this case, 70km/h). If a vehicle re-entered the lane ahead, the Volvo would slow, or brake as required. As already occurs with some adaptive cruise control systems, when a vehicle or vehicles ahead come to a stop, the autonomous vehicle also comes to a stop (we did the same thing at the launch this week of the new Kia Optima). When the vehicles ahead move off, so does the autonomous vehicle. Some cars can already do this. The Kia needs a prod on the accelerator pedal or the cruise control resume button to be pressed and then it, too, will follow the leading traffic.”
Autonomous Volvo XC90 tested in Adelaide;
Autonomous cars on Australian roads by 2020.