Much has been said about driver-free cars. Many tests have been done and this time, Volvo, a Swedish carmaker made known its plans to test up to 100 driverless cars in China. In a statement to the press, Volvo said that local drivers will test the cars on public roads in normal conditions. However, details on the test date are scarce. A Chinese company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group owns Volvo. China is considered the best place for the event; it leads the pack in the development of self-driving cars.
Hakam Samuelson, Volvo president and CEO noted that “autonomous driving can make a significant contribution to road safety. The sooner cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved." Prof David Bailey was quoted by the BBC adding that “people probably don't realize quite how much China's putting into advanced technology in cars”. The Aston Business School Professor furthers opines that “Google has had a far smaller number of cars in tests”, stressing the importance of Volvo’s test.
China is believed to be the leading producer and marketer of cars, a position that Professor Bailey agrees. This is not the first time driverless cars are being tested on Chinese roads. In December 2015, China’s tech giant Baidu tested its self-driving car on public roads in Beijing. The Volvo’s tests come at the heels of Google’s planned expansion of its autonomous cars tests. The Silicon Valley giant revealed plans to make tests in Phoenix, Arizona. This means that Arizona now becomes the fourth city to play host to Google’s driverless cars tests.
Jennifer Haroon, the head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project was quoted by Reuters saying that “The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air”. One of the fears of the general public is the safety of autonomous cars. These fears seem to have been confirmed when one of Google’s self-driving cars crashed into a Bus in California. Even though no one was injured in the mid-February incident this year, car makers will be forced to increase safety measures to avert any accidents.
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