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Volvo announces traffic jam assistant for semi-autonomous driving

October 25, 2012 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222902571
Volvo announces traffic jam assistant for semi-autonomous driving After extensive tests within the 'SARTRE' projects, carmaker Volvo has taken another step towards autonomous driving by demonstrating a new traffic jam assistance system. The system, whereby the car automatically follows the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues up to 50 km/h, will be ready for series production in 2014.

The traffic jam assistance function is an evolution of the current Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology, which was introduced in the all-new Volvo V40 earlier in 2012. The driver activates the traffic jam assistance function by pushing a button. When active, the engine, brakes and steering respond automatically. The Adaptive Cruise Control enables safe, comfortable driving by automatically maintaining a set gap to the vehicle in front, at the same time as the steering is also controlled.

"The car follows the vehicle in front in the same lane. However, it is always the driver who is in charge. He or she can take back control of the car at any time," says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Corporation.

Slow-moving queues are part of urban commuting. Americans spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This is more than the average two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) many Americans have per year. "The situation is of course similar, or even worse, in major urban areas all over the world. Our aim with the traffic jam assistance is to make commuting a bit less stressful for the driver," says Mertens.

Autonomous driving - with steering, acceleration and/or braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction - is a major focus area in Volvo Car Corporation's development work. Within the scope of the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), the company has developed and tested the technology to follow a vehicle in front at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

The traffic jam assistance technology will be part of Volvo Car Corporation's new Scalable Product Architecture, SPA, which will be introduced in 2014, the company said.










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