Hain family was chosen for the trial earlier this year

Hain family was chosen for the trial earlier this year

Geeley's Volvo Cars will from today start developing its autonomous drive cars with help from Swedish families who will test its cars on the public roads of Gothenburg and feed back their impressions to engineers.

The first two families, the Hains and the Simonovskis from the Gothenburg area, have now received the XC90 SUVs with which they will support the Drive Me project. Three more families will follow early next year, and over the next four years up to 100 people will be involved.

Both families will contribute with invaluable data by allowing engineers at the company to monitor their everyday use and interaction with the car, as they drive to work, take the kids to school or go shopping for groceries.

The automaker plans to have a fully autonomous car commercially available by 2021, and the data derived from Drive Me will play a crucial role in the development of these autonomous cars.

"It feels great to be a part of this project," said Alex Hain. "We get the chance to be part of developing technology that will one day save lives."

Drive Me will involve real customers testing the different stages of driver assisted and eventually fully autonomous technology.

"Drive Me is an important research project," said Henrik Green, head of the company's R&D department.

"We expect to learn a lot from engaging these families and will use their experiences to shape the development of our autonomous driving technology, so that by 2021 we can offer our customers a fully autonomous car."

The Hains and the Simonovskis have received XC90s fitted with the latest driver assistance technology, as well as an array of cameras and sensors to monitor their behaviour and provide the car with information on its surroundings.

During these first stages, the families will keep their hands on the steering wheel and supervise the driving at all times when using their cars. But, over time, all participants will gradually be introduced to more advanced assisted driving cars, after receiving special training.

Even then, testing these more advanced cars will initially take place in controlled environments with supervision from a safety expert. No technology will ever be introduced if there is any question over its safety.

The Hain family is Alex and Paula (45), and daughters Filippa (17) and Smilla (14). The Hains were the first people chosen to take part in Drive Me earlier this year.

They are now joined by Sasko Simonovski (44) and his wife Anna (41), and their children Elin (10) and Villiam (8). Additional families will be added as the project progresses.

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