The Swedish Transport Agency will allow Zenuity, a joint venture between Volvo and Veoneer, to perform self-driving tests on public roads. The tests will be performed on highways, with trained drivers behind the wheel, albeit with their hands off the steering wheel.
“The approval to do real-life tests is essential for gathering important data and test functions. It is a strong proof-point for the progress of Zenuity’s self-driving capabilities,” stated Veoneer CTO, Nishant Batra.
Tests will be carried out on the E4 highway between Stockholm and Malmo, road 40 between Jonkoping and Gothenburg, and E6 between Gothenburg and Malmo – at a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), using Level 4 autonomous software.
Meanwhile, Veoneer spokesman Thomas Jonsson said that it’s still too early to anticipate when Zenuity could potentially test autonomous systems without a safety driver onboard the vehicle. The software company has been running tests in Sweden to collect data for sensors, while Volvo has been running separate tests to gauge driver experience and study driver behavior, as reported by Automotive News Europe.
However, the cars tested by the Swedish automaker were “for the development of fully autonomous vehicles,” using outside parties and test drivers, said a Volvo spokesman.
Volvo plans on selling self-driving cars sometime after 2021, and derive a third of its sales from fully autonomous (no driver input needed) models by 2025.