Volvo Cars has announced Ride Pilot, an unsupervised autonomous driving feature that will be available first on a forthcoming electric SUV. The OEM confirmed that Ride Pilot would have a soft launch in California before expanding its reach to further regions and support L4 autonomy.

When active, Ride Pilot can operate without supervision from the driver – allowing them to safely interact with other passengers or the vehicle’s infotainment system. It will leverage a suite of sensors, consisting of five radars, eight cameras, and sixteen ultrasonic sensors, to survey the vehicle’s surroundings and carry out these operations. This suite will be complemented by a LiDAR sensor developed by Luminar alongside autonomous driving software co-developed by Zenseact, Volvo, and Luminar and feature first on Volvo’s future SUV.

While this technology will be available from launch on the SUV, Ride Pilot will only be made available once it has gone through internal testing and verification and received regulatory approval. At this point, the feature will be delivered in an over-the-air software update and offered as a paid subscription service.

As part of its testing and verification protocols related to Ride Pilot, Volvo Cars confirmed that it is currently testing autonomous driving functions on roads in Sweden in collaboration with Zenseact. Volvo Cars will also begin collecting relevant data across Europe and in the US. By mid-2022, the company expects to begin on-road testing of Ride Pilot in California based on the state’s climate and traffic conditions as well as its government regulations surrounding autonomous vehicle testing.