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Nordic Model offers the rest of the world a template for autonomous driving: Volvo CEO


Sweden’s famed Nordic Model, which brings together the public sector, private sector and academia, provides a template for the rapid introduction of autonomous driving technologies worldwide, Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, will say at a seminar on autonomous driving in Sweden this week.


“Autonomous driving has the potential to revolutionise car safety. This technology saves lives. AD also improves traffic flows, enhances air quality and saves people time. This technology should be introduced as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to get everyone involved working together at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Samuelsson will say.


Mr Samuelsson’s comments will be made at a high-level seminar in Stockholm on March 10 at the Swedish parliament entitled ‘A Future with Self Driving Cars – Threat or Opportunity?’, which will bring together Volvo Cars, Autoliv, the Swedish car safety supplier company, Chalmers, the leading Swedish technology and engineering university, leading commentators on AD technology and senior Swedish politicians.


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


“AD is not just about car technology. We need the right roads, the right rules and the right laws. We also need to ensure AD technologies are harmonised as much as possible to avoid unnecessary development costs, so that an AD car in the US is as safe and as legal as an AD car in Europe or Asia,” Mr Samuelsson will say.

Håkan Samuelsson - President & CEO, Volvo Car Group

Both Europe and the US have made important strides towards encouraging AD technologies. But the EU remains hamstrung by individual responsibilities to its 28 members, while the US is similarly constrained by the potential for all 50 US states to introduce their own AD regulations.


Sweden has enjoyed a long tradition of functioning relationships between the public and private sectors, something that has enhanced productivity, avoided industrial disputes and led to the rapid and effective introduction of rules, regulations and infrastructure to support new technologies. This system has become known as the Nordic Model.


“It is natural for us to work together,” Mr Samuelsson will say. “Our starting point is that both the public and private sectors stand to benefit from new technologies and industries, so it is better to build bridges and work together than to all go in different directions.”


Volvo Cars is working with public and private sector partners on the world’s largest and most advanced public AD technology project entitled ‘Drive Me’, which involves 100 real Swedish families in Gothenburg using AD cars on real roads.


Volvo is currently working alongside Autoliv, Chalmers, the national Swedish government and the local government in Gothenburg on this project.


“From the outset, we knew that we could not do it alone,” Mr Samuelsson will say. “We needed to bring partners on board. Our motivation for doing so is simple. This is a technology that can save lives, clean the air, make cities less congested and free up time for people. Who would not want that in place as soon as possible?”


Volvo has been leading the way when it comes to the regulation of autonomous driving. Mr Samuelsson stated in the US last year that Volvo will accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode, making it one of the first car makers in the world to make such a promise.


Volvo regards autonomous driving as a key element in the implementation of its Vision 2020, which states that by the year 2020, no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.






Volvo Car Group in 2015

For the 2015 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 6,620 MSEK (2,128 MSEK in 2014). Revenue over the period amounted to 164,043 MSEK (137,590 MSEK). For the full year 2015, global sales reached a record 503,127 cars, an increase of 8 per cent versus 2014. The record sales and operating profit cleared the way for Volvo Car Group to continue investing in its global transformation plan.


About Volvo Car Group

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world, with sales of 503,127 in 2015 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.


As of December 2015, Volvo Cars had almost 29,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars’ head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars’ head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).

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