Volvo’s CEO thinks a truly autonomous car is still a long way off

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According to Volvo CEO Jim Rowan, fully autonomous cars are still “a long way off”, despite the maturity of the technology. He also said that the current system of classifying self-driving cars into five grades is “bullshit”, and that unsubstantiated claims around the development of self-driving vehicles are no longer increasing the value of stocks the way they did a few years ago.

In an interview with Australian media, the former head of Dyson explained that there are only two levels of autonomy: with your hands on the steering wheel (Advanced Driver Assist Systems or ADAS) and hands on the steering wheel (Autonomous Driving or AD). He also said that the technology for full autonomy already exists, but the problem lies in regulations that currently do not allow for full autonomy.

“You’ll find, maybe, it’ll be the first place full AD lets you. Almost like a taxi service. You know, you go in, no drivers, or you can take your hands off and use your own AD system.

“But driving in a city where there are schools, and roadworks, where there’s a lot of change every day? I think that’s a long way off,” Rowan said in the interview, as quoted from Car Expert.

Rowan’s point of view mirrors former Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson’s previous perceptions of the matter, noting that the public’s perception of autonomous cars is not as positive as some have believed. Many people are still skeptical about this technology and worry about its safety.

But that doesn’t mean that Volvo will stop developing this advanced technology. The company is still developing its software stack which will lead to fully autonomous driving technology.

From a technology standpoint, I’m pretty confident that we’ll have the technology to do that when the law allows it to happen under certain circumstances,” Rowan added.

Volvo’s new three-row electric flagship, the EX90, has made its North American debut at CES 2023. It is touted as Volvo’s smartest vehicle yet leverages technology co-developed by Google and Luminar. It has eight cameras plus a mix of sensors – namely one long-range lidar, five radar and sixteen ultrasonic sensors – all designed to respond and react faster than humans can.

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