As we advance in our analysis of the technology Volvo PowerPulse, we just test the new Volvo S90 and Volvo V90, the two bodies that represent the maximum showcase of technology of Volvo on these moments. For this reason today I encourage you to join me in the who has been my first experience “driving” a car semi-autonomous”, is that among the many novelties of the Swedish manufacturer, the new system Pilot Assist is the first big step of Volvo towards the autonomous car.
Driving autonomous is very present in the future of Volvo
At this time, Volvo is one of the brands that is committed to the development and implementation of the driving region in terms of initiatives such as the city of AstaZero, or the program of introduction of 100 autonomous cars in the city of Gothenburg by 2017. It is clear then, that in the Volvo are very clear that the autonomous car is the future of transportation and a fundamental part of your target of no Volvo new generation see involved in an accident by 2020.
But today, in 2016, the Volvo S90 and its system Pilot Assist, driving semi-autonomous is the most advanced technology developed by Volvo and currently on sale. It is a system that goes a step beyond the already extended adaptive cruise control, an evolution in progress in the form of how to control the address by itself without the awkwardness that results depend on the current systems of maintenance of lane. Without the possibilities of the system AutoPilot Tesla, nor its more recent and dire consequences, the proposal of Volvo is an important step forward to make long journeys with a minor implication on the driving.
PilotAssist is a support system to the driving, and Volvo stresses this concept in both the technology driving semi-autonomous is designed to complement and support the driver, not as a tool replacement. This idea is very important, and that is that in our experience of “driving” semi-autonomous, and in subsequent talks with Volvo engineers, it is evident that there is a lack of real understanding about what driving is autonomous and how it should be used. Although the autonomous car is already a reality, the driver will always be responsible given his role as a supervisor.
having Said that, Volvo has designed Pilot Assist as a step beyond the controls of cruise, focusing on the improvement of how the system acts on the steering and how the vehicle is able to recognize his surroundings and act in consequence. Its operation also makes it obvious that we are facing one more step on the cruise control, because when you drive the Volvo S90 or the Volvo V90, the driver can choose between different modes of cruise control: function limiter not to exceed a speed indicated, cruise control with tracking function and Pilot Assist where is complements the cruise control with a more precise steering, and without the necessity of following any vehicle.
Pilot Assist works up to 130 Km/h, being the system more comfortable and effective that I’ve tried to stay in the lane
The operation of Pilot Assist is possible at speeds of up to 130 Km/h, and then you can work in all kinds of situations, but being your best-case scenario the dual carriageways and motorways where the car can drive by itself. As only requirement, the car requires to always have your hands on the steering wheel. Its activation is performed by controls the cruise control in the left arm of the steering wheel, showing its operation by the appearance of a wheel of green color in the box of instruments digital. The instruments used Pilot Assist function are a radar and a video camera front wide-angle located behind the windshield in a black box
Front controls-cruise adaptive more advanced that I’ve tested, the system Pilot Assist Volvo makes well-two very important things. On the one hand the system always seeks to maintain centered the car in the lane, which makes the system a tool much more comfortable that the systems of maintenance of lane conventional that only made corrections to the approach to the limits of the lane. Thanks to this operation, the vehicle gets to turn in a much more natural and did not see that erratic driving, always seeking the limits of the lane.
on the other hand, and although no less important, the system works fairly quickly, both to recognize road markings and act accordingly, as at the time of alert of the lack of attention on driving and recovering the operating semi-autonomous. That is to say, on the one hand the system recognizes fast patterns for the governed to work, but on the other hand, the system quickly recovers its operation in case of deactivation by lack of attention or in the event of loss of referrals due to lack of road markings.
For Volvo, the driving autonomous is a tool of safety and comfort, but it will never be a way of driving required
After performing a handful of kilometers testing Pilot Assist in different scenarios, my conclusion is that we are before a system that works quite well as an assistant to the driving. Both for making long journeys as to forget about the traffic jams, this system of driving semi-autonomous is a great step forward when compared to controls cruise that we already know almost all. Here the autonomous car there is not as much as it seems, but at Volvo are very clear that using the autopilot will always be an option in their cars, and not a mandatory driving. The idea with the defending Volvo’s autonomous car is to hide in all those moments where our car is just a transport, being able to enjoy driving at any time with the press of a button.