Volvo is ramping up its focus on driverless cars by conducting the first tests of its prototype systems in Sweden ahead of a London roll-out in 2017.
Drive Me London will be carried out in collaboration with Thatcham Research using customised Volvo vehicles fitted with an array of cameras and sensors and will represent a significant advance on previous trials.
As such, real families will be asked to test the cars on public roads with collected data used to refine the autonomous vehicles operation in real-world environments.
By 2018 Volvo intends to have as many as 100 fully autonomous vehicles navigating Britain’s roads in what would be the most extensive single roll-out anywhere in the UK.
Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo's president and chief executive, said: "Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved."
Peter Shaw, chief executive at Thatcham Research reiterated the view. He said: "Without doubt, crash frequency will dramatically reduce, and when a crash can't be avoided, the impact speed will also drop as a result of the [autonomous] system's performance."
Other vehicle manufacturers have also joined the autonomous vehicle race with Jaguar Land Rover set to commence its own trials in the West Midlands this year.