At last year’s CES, Volvo was confident it could get Ride Pilot approval in California for hands-free, eye-free driving, much like Mercedes-Benz’s system had limited approval in Germany. said that What is the status of Ride Pilot, both in the US and potentially in Europe?
We continue to invest in that.We build that software ourselves from ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems] AD full [autonomous driving], different regulations around the world, different road signs, road signals, lane markings, etc. are all taken into account. So we keep building it. But we haven’t released any specific information, like what we’re doing in California and Sweden, or what we’re doing in Germany. Suffice it to say that you need a sufficiently flexible software development platform that can satisfy all the different regulations in the different parts of the world you want to operate. Now we are fully committed to his ADAS and the next generation of his ADAS. Volvo’s Safe Space technology is in every car. On top of that, we have Pilot Assist. We will continue to develop Pilot Assist to provide better governance of lane changes and make them faster and more accurate. Of course, the EX90 adds riders to ADAS.
So the key is that you can keep upgrading the same system, right?
Yes, because we don’t try to develop and maintain five different software tracks. It’s slow, cumbersome, and very costly. Having as few software tracks as possible results in a better architecture.
Are your customers saying they’re in a rush to have fully autonomous capabilities?
I think maybe 3-4 years ago in AD there was talk of having to be relevant in the marketplace. That story is now tapped out. Everyone understands that the road to full AD is through the ADAS valley. You should have a thorough understanding of ADAS and be able to continue developing ADAS functionality. It’s still “hands-on,” but it has more features, like operating at higher speeds, changing lanes more quickly, and providing more accurate visibility. Eventually it will come out on the other side of it. And certain places like California, China, and Germany are probably faster than the rest of the world. But I think this will be a controlled lane for certain regions of each country. I think Urban AD is still ahead.
How do you see AD functionality being sold to the end consumer?
Customers may have the option of a one-time purchase that provides access to ongoing upgrades, or the option to subscribe to the service for a period of time, see if they like it, and see if they can cancel it. There is a nature. As we become more mainstream within our industry, it’s a natural way to offer this service.
We want half of all sales to be online by 2025. Where are you now? Where do you want to go by the end of next year and when do you think the breakthrough will come?
We are only in 6 markets [Germany, the UK, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the U.S.] I want to test it to make sure it works properly and that I can scale it up. Because when we go online, our customers are dealing directly with us rather than through a dealer. So you have to make sure all your back office stuff and your customer service functions and infrastructure are there. The demand for online sales is already solid. UK carwow, which invested this year, shows that. Carwow is not only a major used car dealer, but is also expanding its role in new car sales. They are making it easier for people to buy cars online. Therefore, the shift to online sales is only accelerating. Because younger demographics, people under 25, and digital natives are very used to selling online. So once the infrastructure is ready, a strong digital backbone is established, and a sufficient supply of vehicles is secured, more countries can be connected quickly. Then there is the inflection point, where the slope of the growth curve changes very dramatically.