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Volvo's new self-driving tech could let you sleep during your commute

The company wants to debut Highway Assist in its XC90 vehicles by 2021.
Swapna Krishna, @skrishna
June 21, 2018
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Roberto Baldwin / Engadget

Volvo has a new goal with its popular XC90 crossover SUV: to make commuting a semi-automatic process thanks to level 4 self-driving technology. The Senior Vice President of Volvo, Henrik Green, told The Car Connection that the XC90 would be able to self-navigate "sleeping passengers" on a limited set of roadways thanks to a technology called Highway Assist. Currently, Pilot Assist is available in current XC90 models. Green envisions having this tech available to consumers in 2021.

The road to self-driving technology on the roads hasn't been an easy one. Currently automakers such as BMW and Audi are working towards bringing level 3 autonomous vehicles to public roads. BMW is planning on debuting the iNext, its first level 3 production vehicle, in 2021. The technology Volvo is discussing here is level 4, which is even more advanced.

Green told The Car Connection that the XC90's level 4 Highway Assist would use information from the cloud to navigate, but would use lidar, radar and cameras built into the vehicle to drive. It would also be able to handle emergency situations on its own, rather than requiring driver action.

It's not clear how much this technology will cost when it's finally ready, but Green did say it would be an add-on somewhere in a "four figure" range. Volvo's plans are certainly ambitious; it will be interesting to see whether the company is able to work with federal and state regulators to make their timeline a reality.

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