Volvo is ready to offer an autonomous driving system in their cars by 2014 that will drive the car for you in traffic jams.
Every petrolhead on the planet will throw their hands up in horror at the news that Volvo are to introduce a semi-autonomous driving system in to their cars in 2014. But they shouldn’t.
Yes, we who have petrol flowing in our veins abhor the prospect of a computer guiding our car and taking away our freedom to control our cars. But Volvo’s system is all about taking the strain in traffic jams, one place petrolheads usually fume in frustration.
There’s no joy in a jam, so the system Volvo has developed – using many of the systems we’ve already become used to in cars like Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise – will take control of your car in a jam – at up to 30mph – and control steering, braking and throttle to keep you in a safe place and moving with the flow.
Volvo are calling their new autonomous driving aid Traffic Jam Assist, and it will be able to take control of the car at the push of a button but, just like cruise control, will relinquish control to the driver if any inputs are made.
The next step will be to get the system to work at higher speeds, but that may take a bit of time to find a way to process the information quickly enough for it to be safe on motorways at 80mph.
But, despite a fear that the joy of driving will be lost forever with autonomous systems, the truth is that they’re all about taking away the drudge of driving in jams and on motorways and making roads safer, leaving the driver to take control when the interesting road beckon.
Be not afraid.