Volvo Cars plans to launch and autonomous driving test in China using local drivers to test autonomous driving cars "on public roads in everyday driving conditions".

Volvo expects the experiment to involve up to 100 cars and will in coming months begin negotiations with interested cities in China to see which is able to provide the necessary permissions, regulations and infrastructure to allow the experiment to go ahead.

"Autonomous driving can make a significant contribution to road safety," Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo will tell a seminar in Beijing on April 7, entitled 'Autonomous driving – could China take the lead?'. "The sooner AD [autonomous drive] cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved."

Mr Samuelsson will welcome the positive steps China has taken to put in place to develop autonomous driving technologies, but will also encourage it to do more to try and speed up the implementation of the regulations that will oversee autonomous driving cars in future.

"There are multiple benefits to AD cars," said Mr Samuelsson. "That is why governments need to put in place the legislation to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible. The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need governmental help."

The introduction of AD cars promises to revolutionise China's roads in four main areas – safety, congestion, pollution and time saving.

Independent research has revealed that AD have the potential to reduce the number of car accidents very significantly. Up to 90 per cent of all accidents are also caused by human error, something that disappears with AD cars, Volvo notes.

Mr Samuelsson will welcome moves by regulators and car makers in the US and Europe to develop AD cars and infrastructure, but he will also encourage all the parties involved to work more constructively together to avoid patchwork global regulations, technological duplication and needless expense.

"AD is not just about car technology. We need the right rules and the right laws," Mr Samuelsson will say.

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