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Volvo tests road magnets for self-driving cars

Volvo Trials 100 Magnet Guided Cars On Real Swedish Roads

Recently Volvo has stepped up their trial from their own test roads and is now trialling 100 of their special magnet guided cars in real driving conditions. The first stage of the ‘Drive Me’ project is currently taking place in and around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

“The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves,” says Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group. They argue that magnets work better than using electricity because they are unaffected by poor weather conditions or obstacles in the road, so they can reliably guide vehicles along the road.


The Drive Me project is a joint scheme between Volvo and a number of Swedish transport agencies. The trials mark another step towards the development of entirely autonomous cars which Volvo hope to have in serial production by 2020.

Google Still Working On Their Own Self-Driving Cars

However they are far from the only people working towards creating autonomous cars, Google have been following a different approach for years now, and are still making big leaps forward with their development. Their system is based around sensors mapping out the environment and then processing it for the car to read and react instantly.

The company have already mastered many driving situations including motorways, but found that dealing with city driving has been a far greater challenge for the car’s computers. They have since overcome this problem and now have test cars that can handle thousands of urban situations which would have been impossible just a year or two ago.

“We’re growing more optimistic that we’re heading toward an achievable goal, a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention,” project director Chris Urmson says. The company has said its goal is to get the technology to the public by 2017. Although this system is expected to relive a driver of all control, humans would still be expected to take control if the computer fails.

But in the future the plan is that this will not be necessary, allowing everyone in the car to be a passenger so they can sleep or watch TV if they wish. Google and other car manufacturers are adamant that computers are more reliable that humans and the introduction of their systems will help save many lives from road accidents. However the biggest challenge will be integrating any system with our current motoring infrastructure, in a way which is safe for all drivers.

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