High-end vehicle, chauffeur included? You can see why it makes sense that Volvo would target the luxury end of the market with its upcoming self-driving car. Volvo announced plans to field a vehicle by 2021, thanks in part to a $300 million deal with Uber that will let it leverage some of their work, but now we have some more details, including the vehicle’s high-end approach.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told reporters at today’s Global Mobility Leadership Forum in Detroit that the autopilot function will be an upmarket option that comes with a price tag of somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000, Bloomberg reports. The car it ships with will include a steering wheel — but only in case the owner opts to debase themselves by actually driving it in the style of the plebeians of the prior age.
But steering wheel or no, Samuelsson says this will be a fully autonomous car, meaning those inside the vehicle can go ahead and kick back and “watch a movie or whatever,” per Bloomberg.
Volvo’s approach is basically par for the course in terms of how new features make their way to consumer cars; start at the rarefied top, and then gradually flow down through the line first as options, then as included features at various trim levels, and finally becoming basically a universal standard.
Where it doesn’t make par is when compared to the approach to autonomous cars seemingly favored by other car makers — Ford is looking to introduce self-driving first in fleets of taxi-style vehicles, and it sounds like GM is planning to do the same. Volvo looking at offering this feature first on vehicles sold to individual drivers for personal ownership is then out-of-step with some of its biggest rivals. Hopefully that means we’ll see both types of approaches to autonomous vehicles hit the road at roughly the same time.