By now, we all know that self-driving cars are the future. The question is how far into the future are they? Many people are worried that self-driving cars will be bullied by other drivers on the road. But, the UK has a way around that. At least they think they do. The first self-driving cars in the country will be hidden in plain sight, so to speak. Volvo is slated to be the first manufacturer in the UK to put self-driving cars on public roads, they'll be using 100 self-driving 4×4 vehicles for use on busy roads outside of London. These cars won't be hitting the road until 2018 though.
According to Volvo Cars senior technical leader, Erik Coelingh, these cars won't look any different from other Volvo models on the roads right now. Stating that "from the outside you won't see that it's a self-driving car". He went onto say that he's pretty sure people "will challenge them if they are marked by doing really harsh braking in front of a self-driving car or putting themselves in the way." So the idea is to make these cars look normal, so that they can be tested on the open roads without other drivers bullying them.
Self-driving cars are under development from just about every car maker right now. However, the models that are already out there on the road definitely are marked. With all sorts of things on the roof like LiDAR and much more, which helps the car drive autonomously. So what will be interesting with these cars from Volvo, is how they are able to implement that into the car, without it standing out from other models on the roads in the UK. It's something we'd expect to see in the next few years, as the equipment has steadily gotten smaller and smaller, but to see it disappear completely is pretty interesting. These cars aren't slated to hit the roads until 2018, so there's still time for Volvo to work on the software and the hardware and get it ready to drive on public roads with other drivers. Of course, there are already self-driving cars on the roads in the US, with Uber using them to actually pick up passengers in Pittsburgh right now.