Volvo aims to be industry leader in autonomous driving technology

Driver behaviour can have a huge impact on fuel consumption and the efficiency of a fleet. That's why software for fleet management which offers fuel monitoring has become such a popular option amongst organisations looking to reduce fleet expenses and improve their bottom line.

But imagine a world in which drivers didn't have to operate their cars at all - a world in which cars drove themselves. Sounds far fetched? Well, not according to Volvo.

The Swedish car manufacturer has announced that it is moving forward with a new initiative aimed at becoming an industry leader in autonomous driving technology.

According to Volvo, autonomous driving will one day allow drivers to safely do something else while their car operates in complete self-reliance, leading to less car accidents, fewer traffic jams, and improved fuel consumption of up to 50 per cent in certain conditions.

"This view is an exciting challenge for Volvo Car Corporation. We must design intelligent cars that take over the driving while you focus on something else. Such as sending a text or communicating on Facebook," said Volvo chief executive officer Stefan Jacoby in a statement released September 17.

"Personally, I am convinced that the majority of tomorrow's car owners will not even dream of buying a car without autonomous driving possibilities."

And as Volvo's product attribute manager of driver assistance Marcus Rothoff points out, autonomous driving isn't quite as futuristic an idea as it might first appear.

"Hardly anyone thinks twice about being in an airplane that flies on autopilot. But being in a car that drives by itself while the driver reads a book is still quite a revolutionary thought for many people," said Mr Rothoff.

Volvo is not the first organisation to explore the potential of autonomous driving however.

In May of this year, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it had issued the first autonomous vehicle license to a specially modified Toyota Prius designed by Google.

Other car companies such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have also announced that they are working on autonomous driving technology.