Volvo’s Drive Me program, a driverless vehicle trial that the Swedish carmaker claims is “way ahead” of Google’s autonomous car project, has taken a major step forward today with a new detailed view of its IntelliSafe Auto Pilot system.
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Announced in late 2013, the Drive Me pilot program will see 100 self-driving examples of Volvo’s new XC90 SUV take to the road in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, in 2017.

Today, the famously safety-driven carmaker has released a short video that details the functions of its new Intellisafe Auto Pilot system, an in-car interface that forms the core of the occupant’s interactions with the vehicle’s autonomous driving systems.

With functions similar to a driverless system previewed earlier this year by German technology developer and supplier, Bosch, the IntelliSafe interface allows motorists to surrender control of the vehicle on routes that support autonomous driving, while also offering a number of options for the driver to monitor the vehicle’s status.

When the vehicle is driven to a route with autonomous vehicle support, the driver is invited to activate the system by pulling the two steering-mounted gear-shift paddles simultaneously, which will then indicate its status with a pair of soft green LED lights and a shit to Auto Pilot mode in the instrument cluster’s broad display screen.

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

In Auto Pilot mode, the driver is welcome to entertain themselves, with even the main display’s video-playing feature unlocked.

As the vehicle nears an area where driverless technology is not supported, the driver is alerted and asked to re-take control, following the same procedure during a 60-second countdown.

If the driver fails to regain control, the vehicle will bring itself to a stop where safe.

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

"We have designed a user interface that is safe and seamless to use so that drivers can confidently transfer and regain control of the car," Volvo design boss Thomas Ingenlath said.

The system will debut with Volvo’s Drive Me trial in 2017, although it possible that a prototype version will also be used during South Australia’s Driverless Vehicle Initiative program, which counts Volvo among its major partners.

But, unlike the Gothenburg program, ADVI - which begins this November - will be restricted to closed sections of road.