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Meet the First Family to Test Volvo’s Autonomous XC90

In its pursuit of bringing autonomous vehicles to the road, Volvo will test around 100 autonomous vehicles in its home town of Gothenburg, Sweden this year. The Hain family  was the first to receive the keys to its autonomous XC90 today in Detroit.

The stereotypically blonde Hain family will test drive the car for 2017, which Volvo says will give them unique insight into how autonomous cars work in the real world.

“The aim of the Drive Me research project is to focus on how to enhance people’s lives and have a positive impact on society,” said Henrik Green, senior VP of  R&D at Volvo. “No one else to our knowledge is developing autonomous drive from a human-centric standpoint.”

Along with the families actually driving around Gothenburg, Volvo has conscripted the help of public, private, and academic experts to ensure that as much is gleaned from the research project as possible.

“We want to learn more around how people feel when they engage and disengage autonomous drive, what the handover should be like, and what sort of things they would do in the car when it’s driving them to their destination,” said Green.

The Drive Me project is just Volvo’s latest collaborative effort to get autonomy onto the roads. The automaker recently teamed up with Uber—in what turned out to be an ill-fated venture in San Francisco—and Autoliv.

All of this is part of Volvo’s goal of getting autonomous vehicles onto the road by 2021.

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