Swedish automaker known best for making safe cars has joined a number of companies that develop autonomous vehicle technology. However, Volvo has made a step forward a particular usage case: parking.
In a recently released video, Volvo shows off how a car that not only parks itself â€” which is somewhat old hat â€” but also drops you at the curb and finds a parking spot on its own.
Its new â€śAutonomous Parkingâ€ť feature combines sensors and cameras with a system that activates the steering, brakes and other controls to guide the car into an available space.
Special inbuilt sensors allow the car to interact with its surroundings – including the movement of pedestrians and other vehicles.
The key to development of the futuristic system is “Vehicle 2 infrastructure technology,” which would embed sensors and transmitters in roadways and parking spaces that would detect empty parking spots and inform both the car and driver.
Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor Volvo Car Group, said: â€śAutonomous 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.â€ť
He added: â€śOur 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.â€ť
The driver would then be able to recall the car using a mobile phone app, although it is thought the car would only operate with compatible parking spaces.
Apparently most of these technologies will be available in the new Volvo XC90, which won’t be revealed until the end of 2014.
Audi has also developed similar technology, while Volvo said it would incorporate auto-braking technology for cars that detect pedestrians and large animals.
The technology used builds off of Volvo’s other work in autonomous vehicle research, namely theÂ Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) projectÂ in which the company managed to create a train of four cars autonomously following a lead truck at speeds up 56 miles per hour, reports AutoBlog.
According to UPI, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to spend the next four years researching autonomous vehicles as it evaluates systems like automatic braking to prevent accidents. The project will look at safety, reliability, how human beings interact with the technology, and the risk of hacking and cyberattack.
Last month, NHTSA issued non-binding recommendations to states for self-driving cars, saying they should only be approved for testing if a licensed human driver is aboard with the ability to take over in case of a malfunction.
â€śWe believe there are a number of technology issues as well as human performance issues that must be addressed before self-driving vehicles can be made widely available.
â€śSelf-driving vehicle technology is not yet at the stage of sophistication or demonstrated safety capability that it should be authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes,â€ť NHTSA said in a statement.