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Volvo wants deathproof vehicles by 2020

The grand vision of autonomous driving is for intelligent vehicles, coupled with smart infrastructure, to use real time communications to make traffic accidents and congestion a thing of the past. But, given the outlook on development and deployment of these technologies, that future is still a long way away.

For its part, Swedish automaker Volvo is holding itself to a different standard. In a recent interview with Tech Insider, Volvo North America CEO Lex Kerssemakers said the company’s goal is to use technology to ensure people do not die in its vehicles by 2020.

He told the publication Volvo started working seriously on autonomous driving “four or five years ago. It was based on our vision of not getting killed in the car. It was not a popular thing at the time. And gradually, we realized that if we don’t do something like autonomous drive, where we are using all of the technical features we have already, we won’t get to our 2020 vision. We need it. We need autonomous drive.”

In addition to fully autonomous vehicles the company has developed and is testing, Volvo has rolled some autonomous features out to commercially produced vehicles. The 2015 XC90 SUV was the first Volvo vehicle to feature Pilot Assist, which brakes and accelerates to match traffic up to 30 mph and follows the line of the car in front of it.

Other of Volvo’s so-called IntelliSafe features include Adaptive Cruise Control, a 360-degree surround view for maneuvering in tight spaces, Driver Alert Control, smart headlights and more.

“We are marching to [the goal],” Kerssemakers told Tech Insider. “We are approaching that era where really people will not be killed. We have a journey to 2020 and we are going to implement the technology in different steps. I won’t say that it is easy, but because we are able to take existing technology, we can take the next steps relatively easy.”

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