Volvo has selected navigation specialist TomTom’s HD Map product to power the first phase of its ‘Drive Me’ autonomous vehicles programme which gets under way this year.

The car manufacturer’s research project will see real drivers integrate autonomous driving into their daily lives on public roads. The first group of drivers will be recruited in Gothenburg, Sweden, with further pilot schemes organised in London and China.

TomTom’s HD Map is an accurate digital map based product that will be used to help Volvo’s automated vehicles to precisely locate themselves as they navigate the road network.

TomTom Automotive managing director Antoine Saucier said: “The Volvo Drive Me programme is exciting because of its user centric focus.

“We’re really interested in what we’ll learn from the drivers as they interact with the technology, and how the TomTom HD Map helps towards their driving experience.”

Following launch of the Gothenburg trial the Drive Me programme is expected to arrive in London later this year. Tests will initially involve a limited number of semi autonomous cars and will later be expanded to include up to 100 cars capable of fully autonomous driving, it is planned.

Data and customer feedback from the trial will be used to help Volvo develop self driving cars that are suited to be used in real life and on real roads.