By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Volvo Cars and self-driving sensor maker Luminar Technologies Inc said Wednesday that a hands-free driving system called “Ride Pilot” will be first released in California, though the companies did not give a specific date.
Volvo is planning to deploy the technology, which will allow the car to fully take over driving tasks in some limited situations, in a forthcoming all-electric SUV that Volvo plans to announce later this year.
Volvo plans to offer the self-driving feature as a subscription upgrade to customers after vehicles have already hit the road. The company has not set a date for when Ride Pilot will be available.
Instead, it has said Ride Pilot will not be turned on for customers until it has undergone a “rigorous verification and testing protocol” that includes “validation of the technology as safe for use on highways in a number of varying conditions.”
The companies said they want to begin testing Ride Pilot later this year in California, pending regulatory approvals.
Luminar will provide what is known as a lidar sensor, a key part of the system that helps the car gain a three-dimensional map of the road. But the vehicle will also rely on an array of five radar sensors, eight cameras and sixteen ultrasonic sensors, all tied together with software from Swedish firm Zensact.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Nick Zieminski)