Volvo joins autonomous cars race image

Swedish-based Volvo Car Group has joined the race to develop self-driving cars, saying it plans to build 100 such vehicles in a pilot project.

The Chinese-owned automaker said yesterday in a statement it would test its “autonomous” cars on 30 miles of selected roads in the Swedish city of Goteborg, starting in 2017.

In what it called “the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project,” Volvo said the vehicle would assume all driving functions, though the driver “is expected to be available for occasional control.”

Parking would be fully automated, allowing the driver to leave the vehicle as it finds a vacant spot to park by itself.

Autonomous driving is still a long way off for legal and technical reasons but increasingly possible by equipping cars with cameras and computers.

Volvo is also only the latest automaker to join what is now a full-fledged race to deliver self-driving capable cars to the market by 2020. So far, not only automakers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz but also auto parts suppliers and technology companies like Google have started their own pilot programs for developing autonomous cars.