- Technology for autonomous driving starts in the all-electric XC90 successor
- Photo gallery: Volvo's safety technology with Lidar (2021)
Technology for autonomous driving starts in the all-electric XC90 successor
We have not yet reported an important novelty that Volvo announced at its "Tech Moments" event last Wednesday: the XC90 successor (which will be available on the market exclusively as an electric car in 2023) will come with lidar technology as standard feature.
The first SUV based on a new platform will receive the hardware developed by Luminar; the software for this comes from Zenseact, a Swedish company that, like Volvo, belongs to Geely. The system also includes an autonomous driving computer from Nvidia.
Modern technology makes unsupervised driving possible, i.e. a level of autonomous driving in which the driver no longer has to constantly monitor the traffic situation (as is currently the case with autonomous driving on level 2). Volvo calls this mode "Ride" (in contrast to Drive (driving without assistance) and Cruise (driving with assistance systems such as cruise control and lane guidance, which are often built in today).
Technology should help avoid accidents and autonomous driving bring closer. Initially, however, the autonomous technology should only intervene if the driver does not react to warnings, according to Volvo:
"The combination of advanced hardware and software from Volvo, Zenseact and Luminar creates a close-knit safety network. This means that even more collisions can be avoided, which further reduces the number of road deaths and accidents. Over time, thanks to its software and Hardware even intervenes independently if the driver does not react to repeated warnings in life-threatening situations. The systems work like an additional pair of eyes and a second brain – but the driver always retains full control. " (Volvo press release)
To ensure that the driver is monitoring the situation, there will be a new driver monitoring system based on a capacitive steering wheel and two cameras:
Lidar technology will complement the sensors (cameras, radar and ultrasound) already present in many cars and thus improve road safety. The lidar sensor will be located at the top of the windshield on the roof. The range when detecting obstacles depends on the reflective properties of the object. With an oncoming car, it is around 230 to 300 meters, according to Zenseact boss Odgard Andersson at the event.
One of the advantages of the technology is the high spatial resolution. Andersson gave the horizontal and vertical angular resolving power as 0.1 degrees. The lidar ensures that the autonomous driving system can get a good 3D image of the vehicle's surroundings.
Lidar can also cope with poor visibility, in which cameras are of little use. Compared to radar, the technology can better recognize complex traffic situations (for example in tunnels). Unlike Tesla, Volvo believes that lidar technology is one of the prerequisites for autonomous driving.
Photo gallery: Volvo's safety technology with Lidar (2021)
The software for autonomous driving will be via over-the-air updates be updated. The technology is apparently supposed to come closer to autonomous driving step by step – depending on whether local regulations allow it. Volvo starts with highways, for example, where there are no oncoming cars and no pedestrian traffic.
In addition, data from customers should be included in the improvements if they agree: "With the help of real-time data, we can accelerate our development processes and shorten the period from years to days," explains Odgard Andersson from Zenseact. The collected customer data are dEvaluated through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
More information from Volvo's "Tech Moments" event: Volvo XC90: The successor to be launched in 2023 as a pure electric car
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