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, according to Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

Speaking at a high-level seminar on autonomous driving, Mr Samuelsson said: “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’s comments were made in Stockholm on March 10 at a seminar at the Swedish parliament entitled ‘A Future with Self Driving Cars – Threat or Opportunity?’, which brought 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 welcomed moves by regulators and car makers in the US and Europe to develop AD cars and infrastructure, but encouraged 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 said.

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 said. “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 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.