Volvo shows user interface for self-driving cars

October 05, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automated driving poses specific requirements to the user interface of the cars, in particular for the transition phases to and from autopilot mode. Volvo now has revealed an easy-to-use interface to oversee how drivers will transfer control to a car’s autonomous driving (AD) mode in its forthcoming cars.

The advent of autonomous driving technology means that the relationship between a driver and a car’s user interface is of crucial significance. A safe and seamless handover of control is the cornerstone of any trustworthy AD technology. To make this transition as easy and intuitive as possible, Volvo developed its IntelliSafe Auto Pilot concept. The autonomous mode is activated and deactivated with specially-designed paddles on the steering wheel.
When entering a route where autonomous driving is available, the car gives the driver a message that the Auto Pilot is ready. At the same time, lights on the steering-wheel paddles start flashing.
The driver pulls both paddles simultaneously to activate autonomous mode. The lights on the paddles then change to constant green and Auto Pilot confirms that the driving and the supervision has been delegated to the car.
When the electronic chauffeur for any reason (entering into an urban environment with pedestrians, for example) wishes to hand over the command back to the driver, it prompts the driver to take over again and displays a sixty-second countdown at the dashboard. If the driver doesn’t use the paddles to regain control within this minute, the car will bring itself to a safe stop.
The IntelliSafe Auto Pilot will be available for the first time on the 100 XC90’s it is making available for the Drive Me AD project in Gothenburg in 2017. This project will make 100 self-driving Volvos available to families and commuters around Gothenburg for use in everyday driving conditions. The cars will be driven autonomously on approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads.
Following its use in Drive Me, the IntelliSafe Auto Pilot is then intended to be introduced to the general public.
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