Tech firm Luminar will provide Volvo with lidar and perception technology for the Swedish company’s next generation of cars.
The partnership will deliver Volvo’s first fully self-driving technology and pave the way for future active safety developments.
The next generation SPA 2 modular vehicle architecture will be available as hardware-ready for autonomous driving from 2022 with Luminar lidar being integrated into the roof.
Cars with SPA 2 will be updated with software over the air and if customers opt for it, the Highway Pilot feature enabling fully autonomous highway driving will be activated once it is verified to be safe for the location and conditions.
Henrik Green, chief technology officer of Volvo Cars, said, “Autonomous drive has the potential to be one of the most lifesaving technologies in history, if introduced responsibly and safely. Providing our future cars with the vision they require to make safe decisions is an important step in that direction.”
To enable Highway Pilot, Luminar’s perception technology will be combined with autonomous drive software and the cameras, radars and back-up systems for functions such as steering, braking and battery power installed on future Volvo cars.
Green said soon Volvos will be able to drive autonomously on highways when the car determines it is safe to do so.
“At that point, your Volvo takes responsibility for the driving and you can relax, take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Over time, updates over the air will expand the areas in which the car can drive itself. For us, a safe introduction of autonomy is a gradual introduction,” Green said.
Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Luminar, said, “The next era of safety lies within autonomous driving and once again, Volvo has taken the lead with a major industry milestone. We’ve solved the key cost, performance and auto-grade challenges to make series production possible, and alongside Volvo are making the technology available to the world.”