Electronics and Semiconductors

Volvo’s self-driving car joint venture cleared to test on Swedish roads

31 January 2019

Zenuity self-driving cars will travel in designated areas around Stockholm and Gothenburg. Source: ZenuityZenuity self-driving cars will travel in designated areas around Stockholm and Gothenburg. Source: Zenuity

One thing is certain before self-driving cars can become a viable business model for automotive OEMs: the cars need to be tested on real roads.

A number of automotive OEMs are currently testing the vehicles on roads. Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle division, is leading the charge, surpassing the 10 million mile mark last year. The company also got approval to test in California’s Bay Area after testing in Phoenix since last year.

Now, Sweden’s Transportstyrelsen, the country’s transport agency, is permitting a joint venture between Veoneer Inc. and Volvo Cars to conduct self-driving car tests on public roads.

The joint venture, called Zenuity, will test the vehicles with trained drivers but with hands-off steering and traveling at a maximum speed of about 50 mph.

Zenuity said the approved routes are E4 between Stockholm and Malmö, national road 40 between Jönköping and Gothenburg and E6 between Gothenburg and Malmö.

"The approval to do real-life tests is essential for gathering important data and test functions,” said Nishant Batra, CTO at Veoneer. “It is a strong proof-point for the progress of Zenuity's self-driving capabilities.”

The Zenuity test will join other self-driving car tests that have cropped up over the past year including Drive.ai’s on-demand ride-hailing service in Frisco, Texas; a self-driving on-demand food delivery pilot with Ford; Baidu’s test of autonomous vehicles in Beijing; startup SF Motors gaining approval to test its vehicles on California public streets; and Ford’s expansion of testing autonomous vehicles to Washington D.C.

In California alone, more than 50 companies — including Waymo, Lyft, Uber, Tesla, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, Daimler and others — have received permits to test self-driving cars.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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