The center of attention of the Volvo booth wasn't exactly a vehicle: it was a family. The Hain family from Gothenburg, Sweden, was in Detroit for a very special reason: they will be the first family to take possession of a fully autonomous Volvo XC90 for the beta testing of Volvo's new DriveMe program.
Come the end of 2017, there will be a fully autonomous Volvo XC90 driving around in Sweden. The DriveMe research project, a joint-venture between Volvo and other local companies, is putting Volvo's autonomous driving technology to the test. The goal is to have 100 self-driving Volvos in the streets of Gothenburg by the end of 2017. Real families will get to test the system in their daily lives and their feedback will provide precious insight that will help the brand correct and improve their technology.
Alex Hain explains that he is hoping that by being driven in an autonomous car, he will get to work during his commute, time that would otherwise be wasted in traffic, making for shorter working days, which will ultimately allow him to spend more time with his family.
Volvo hopes that by taking the human aspect of autonomous vehicles into consideration, their technology will evolve to become more adapted to the needs of their customers. The carmaker is aiming to expand the program to other cities across the globe in the hopes of seeing their autonomous technology available on the market by 2121.