Volvo will debut its 'self-driving' Ride Pilot feature in California

The feature will launch alongside an electric SUV the automaker will debut later in the year.


Volvo will debut “Ride Pilot,” its take on a Tesla-like autonomous driving feature, in California, the automaker announced on Wednesday during CES 2022. Once it’s approved for use on highways, Volvo says it will offer Ride Pilot as a paid subscription add-on for a new electric SUV it plans to reveal later this year. It will later bring the feature to other markets globally.

The company worked with Zenseact and LiDAR developer Luminar to create Ride Pilot, and it’s currently testing the feature in Sweden. As you might guess from Luminar’s involvement, Ride Pilot will utilize LiDAR technology, an approach that puts Volvo at odds with Tesla. CEO Elon Musk famously called the tech a “crutch” during a 2018 earnings call. According to Volvo, Ride Pilot will utilize a Luminar Iris LiDAR sensor complemented by eight cameras, 16 ultrasonic sensors and five radars to enable the software to judge depth. Additionally, the company says it will push out continuous over-the-air updates to ensure the feature is safe to use.

“When we say self-driving, we mean self-driving. So this will be a feature or function where the car is actually responsible for the driving so you will not need to keep your hands on the steering wheel and you will not need to keep your eyes off the road,” said Martin Kristensson, head of AD and mobility at Volvo.

Volvo says it will start testing Ride Pilot in California by the middle of 2022. It picked the state for its favourable regulatory stance on autonomous vehicles.

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