China has been under strict communist rule for many years, but is also the place where more items are manufactured than anywhere else in the world. As the most populated country on the planet the challenges faced in China regarding traffic, infrastructure and progress are more pronounced than anywhere else. The question isn’t as much if this is the right place to go for progress but will China accept the progress we want to offer in order to see technology improve and lives being saved, especially when it comes to automobile accidents that happen many times a day in some of the most populated areas of the country.
Volvo certainly feels China could be a fantastic proving ground for the next wave of technology, provided there are some areas that will help to build the infrastructure needed. As a company that is both Swedish and Chinese owned, Volvo has a vested stake in the country to offer their latest safety innovations to the market in China before taking it anywhere else. What does Volvo want to test in China; autonomous vehicles. They are looking to experiment with some vehicles that can actually drive themselves on the streets of some of the busiest cities in China.
If China were to allow this testing to be conducted it would be the most advanced autonomous driving experience in the country to date. The idea is to allow drivers to experience this technology in vehicles they put through every day driving conditions to see exactly how well these cars will perform. These cars won’t be relegated to a track or specified area, Volvo wants them driven on public roads to see exactly where they need to make improvements to their autonomous driving technology to ensure they can offer even safer and more complete versions of the technology for the rest of the world.
The belief is that self-driving vehicles will help to reduce accidents, free up congested roads, reduce pollution and make it easier for drivers to spend time in their cars in a more effective and efficient manner. I’m not sure how these cars will free up road congestion or reduce pollution simply by being autonomously driven, but the reduction in accidents and time savings certainly are key factors to this type of driving which could be attractive to many of us who have to commute on a daily basis.
Over ninety percent of all accidents are caused by human error; avoiding these accidents would certainly be beneficial not only to the owners of the vehicles, but to the companies that insure them. If this self-driving experiment takes place Volvo will certainly have a lead in the world of autonomous driving. Of course, this could be expected from Volvo. Considering their history of offering us the safest vehicles on the road today, Volvo is a likely candidate to have the firs autonomous vehicle as part of its lineup to allow is to kick back and enjoy the ride to and from work while the car handles all the stress of the daily gridlock on the interstate.
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