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Should Steering Assist be restored to the steering wheel?

  • Yes, Steering Assist is much more useful when controlled from the Steering wheel.

    Votes: 64 90.1%
  • No, I'm happy to be distracted from driving whenever I want to toggle Steering Assist.

    Votes: 2 2.8%
  • I never use Steering Assist, so don't care.

    Votes: 5 7.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
IMHO, the single largest impact of the June software update affects Pilot Assist. Prior to the update, the right arrow of the left steering wheel controls could be used to easily enable and disable Steering Assist as driving conditions changed. As stated in the update description:

"Switching between Pilot Assist modes (with or without steering assist) is now moved to the center display and can be accessed via the settings page."

For me, this has had a huge negative impact on the usefulness of Pilot Assist. Before, I found it easy to engage Steering Assist whenever I needed to take my eyes off the road for a moment. Things like opening a water bottle, poking at the infotainment screen or switching glasses were made safer by momentarily engaging Steering Assist.

Now, each time I want to toggle Steering Assist, I actually have to take my eyes off the road and futz with the infotainment system to do so.

I see no positive reason for Volvo to make this change. Does Volvo have no faith in Steering Assist? Are they actually trying to stop people from using it?

Am I the only one who is unhappy about this? I feel that Volvo has stolen a feature that was used to sell me the car in the first place. Please educate me if you think this change was a good thing, and cast your vote about how you feel about it.
 

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I took it as a sign that Volvo doesn't trust the steering assist. I certainly don't trust it. The few times I briefly tried it, it wanted to steer me off the highway whenever there was a break in the line for an exit. Other users seem to have no problem with it, but I'm not taking any chances for now.
 

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Maybe I am ignorant to the XC40 terminology, I am used to LKAS in my Acuras that keep me in the lane and slightly pull me back into the center of the lane if the car drifts. I have a similar symbol on the dahs n the P8 that is active, but honestly I barely feel it do anything in the P8. The S60 base model loaner I have the last few days it is very obvious as I drift that is aggressively pulls me back into the center of the lane.
 

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Maybe I am ignorant to the XC40 terminology, I am used to LKAS in my Acuras that keep me in the lane and slightly pull me back into the center of the lane if the car drifts. I have a similar symbol on the dahs n the P8 that is active, but honestly I barely feel it do anything in the P8. The S60 base model loaner I have the last few days it is very obvious as I drift that is aggressively pulls me back into the center of the lane.
There are two features at play here. Lane Keep Assistance, and then part of the Pilot Assist program, which is when you have BOTH Lane Assist + Adaptive Cruise.

For the former, that is the white lines you see at the TOP of your screen (middle) -- same location your auto wipers would be adjacent, if turned on. When you are stopped they are grey (if feature on) but when moving and lane markings are "Seen" by the camera it goes solid white. That is a feature you've always turned on/off in the Settings (gear) menu of the car.

For the latter, the Pilot Assist, this is a feature that works with the Adaptive Cruise. Prior to the May/June update, this feature was toggled by pressing the RIGHT arrow/carrot on the LEFT D-Pad (on the steering wheel). You would turn ON cruise control (the center BUTTON in that d-pad) to turn on cruise/Pilot. You'd see the system come alive on your screen at the bottom CENTER of the center display, with a few icons (for steering control, lane assist, and distance). If you pressed that right button, it would toggle on/off the steering assist portion -- basically switching between full Pilot Assist functions, or just adaptive cruise function with no steering assist.

Now -- under the latest. update-- the icon is a "smooshed together" little orange/grey icon (bottom of the center instrument cluster) that at a single glance shows you follow distance (which is a nice upgrade since the prior version did not show, in real time, follow distance, unless you were adjust the distance)-- but its just 1 icon, not split across. And when turned on and the feature is on, the steering wheel is part of the icon too. But now, to toggle between "just" adaptive cruise or full pilot/steering assist, you have to do so in the settings (gear) menu of the main touch screen-- you can no longer toggle this feature with the right arrow of the D-pad. tHis means to turn that feature on/off is more distracting from the driver's experience.

My wife likes that feature on all the time, whereas I do find myself in situations where I want to steer myself (construction zones) without the "resistance" of the Pilot system, but then when back out of such zones, I want the feature back on--- and this is why/where having quick/easy toggle access was nice. Hope this clarifies.
 

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Thanks. I have not tried adaptive cruise yet. I am unimpressed with LKAS then as the loaner S60 is far better at it.
My 2020 Porsche Taycan has their “InnoDrive” system with is basically Pilot Assist (a mixture of lane keep plus adaptive cruise combined). This is what the original “Autopilot” system did on the Tesla vehicles early on, and technically is what all Tesla come with now at no extra charge (the $10k “Full Self Driving” is still a crock)

In my opinion, Tesla has worked hard to refine their system, and you can tell. It is smooth, does great keeping you centered in the lane, and truly allows hands-off driving even during tight sweeping freeway interchanges. You do have to hold the wheel at times to comply, but overall, its a 98% hands-off experience.

Second best from the systems I’ve tried is a tie between BMW (got to test drive an X5 with their system a few months back) and the Porsche. They aren’t as refined or perfect as the Tesla, they require a bit more holding of the wheel, and they wont do heavy steering angles. But they work good.

Volvo’s system work ok but not great. I find the way the steering works when Pilot Assist is on to be a bit buggy, or pushing against. Meaning i actually can hold the wheel and steer with lighter wrist input in the non-assisted steering version (adaptive cruise only). That said, the lane keep, or LKAS as you put it — does a decent job of pushing you back into your lane, and reminds me of Audi vehicles from a decade ago. WHich is to say, safety works — but not as polished as some of the newer setups. My two cents anyhow…
 

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I don’t believe Volvo is as committed to actual autonomous driving as other EV makers, such as TSLA, are. Watching Volvo’s 6/30/21 Tech Moment, Volvo makes the distinction between “supervised” and “unsupervised” driving to the exclusion of the ASME’s 6 levels of self-driving autonomy. The Volvo execs stressed how Volvo puts safety above all else. They spoke many times of its goal of zero accidents. Volvo’ burying PilotAssist steering in the center display is clearly a vote of no confidence.

I’ve used both Pilot Assist and basic TSLA Autopilot. PA is no Autopilot. Still, Autopilot made me anxious. Reliable autonomous, unsupervised, driving vehicles are years away. On-board computing needs to be better and I disagree with Elon about exclusively using camera vision. While autonomous vehicle may process inputs faster than a human, the autonomous vehicle is more likely to hit the pothole than the human.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everyone here would agree that Pilot Assist is a shadow of what Tesla has achieved with AutoPilot.

As weak an offering as it is, Volvo advertised and sold the car with Pilot Assist being controllable from the steering wheel, then they took it away after the check was cashed.
 

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Man I sure hope this update is not coming to gasoline models. I use that toggle all the time. It will be unsafe without it or I simply won’t ever use pilot assist, as it’s not able to manage construction zones. It also struggles on new stretches of the concrete interstates where it misreads variations in concrete tone as lane markings.
 

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IMHO, the single largest impact of the June software update affects Pilot Assist. Prior to the update, the right arrow of the left steering wheel controls could be used to easily enable and disable Steering Assist as driving conditions changed. As stated in the update description:

"Switching between Pilot Assist modes (with or without steering assist) is now moved to the center display and can be accessed via the settings page."

For me, this has had a huge negative impact on the usefulness of Pilot Assist. Before, I found it easy to engage Steering Assist whenever I needed to take my eyes off the road for a moment. Things like opening a water bottle, poking at the infotainment screen or switching glasses were made safer by momentarily engaging Steering Assist.

Now, each time I want to toggle Steering Assist, I actually have to take my eyes off the road and futz with the infotainment system to do so.

I see no positive reason for Volvo to make this change. Does Volvo have no faith in Steering Assist? Are they actually trying to stop people from using it?

Am I the only one who is unhappy about this? I feel that Volvo has stolen a feature that was used to sell me the car in the first place. Please educate me if you think this change was a good thing, and cast your vote about how you feel about it.
I personally am not happy with this update either will be complaining to my dealership (have a few other software niggles too)
 

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For my part, I have traveled several thousand kilometers with the PA (26000km since May 2021). Indeed, it is not perfect and we have the impression of fighting against! You just have to trust it a little bit and it gets better a bit. It tends to over tighten on the right and doesn't really stay in the center. We pass near the trucks sometimes!

It's a shame that the activation is removed from the steering wheel. the biggest disappointment since the OTA updates. V1.8 improves the reliability of the PA !
 

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I have driven thousands of miles in my xc90 with this. Periodically I toggle it on and off, and it is super easy to do. I don't use it as a hands free system. Knowing that I will have to override it sometimes (construction zones, highway exits, poor lane markings...) having the buttons on the steering wheel is great. As soon as it does something that you don't agree with push the left button. Now you have complete steering control. When the 2017 xc90s came with pilot assist 2 (original pilot assist was up to 34mph) PA2 was available as a software upgrade for $235ish and was a great improvement over lane keeping assist (ping pong between left and right lane markings). The xc40 that I test drove had the controls on the wheel and it was disappointing to lose that functionality. Maybe to get will give it back, or at least make a toggle to give us the choice of menu based or button based pilot assist.
 

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Volvo mentality is really interesting one. It can be seen very much in their pilot/driver assistant and some other features in the car. First and foremost Volvo considered their drivers as an adults and people that knows more or less what are they doing. That's why there is no constant beeping anywhere. For example when closing the trunk. If you go without seatbelt it will let you know but will not keep beeping to oblivion. Pilot assistant is similar. Volvo will never use the word autopilot. Autonomous driving is more likely. I do not believe they will allow it in residential areas. Pilot assistant is there to help not to tell you how to drive or to act on your behalf.
The other thing is the features in the cars. Volvo will never seek the WOW factor. It is the functionality and practicality. Disappointing for some for sure. Sorry no video games on the screen.
Luminar is Volvo subsidiary for what I know. They bought the company some time ago I think. Volvo and Google had autonomous driving research done for years. Remember the accident with the jaywalking when the car hit a woman. LiDAR autonomous driving should be very good.
Unfortunately the rule for buying a new Volvo is never to be done on the first year. For some reason the first year of the brand new models was always problematic. Same with 850 release in 1993, new generation XC90 2003 and 2015.
 

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What?? I recently sold our XC90 in favor of the XC40 Recharge — which I really like — but I’ve been royally perplexed by the disappearance of the left-of-steering wheel engagement of steering assist that had been on the XC90. It wasn’t until I read this string of messages that I now see that Volvo has chosen to bury it on the center display.

Again: What??

So now, whenever I want to engage steering assist on a section of straight-ish highway, I have to dig through the center screen instead of just touching the steering wheel button. Volvo, that’s nuts and you really should undo such a valueless change.
 

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What?? I recently sold our XC90 in favor of the XC40 Recharge — which I really like — but I’ve been royally perplexed by the disappearance of the left-of-steering wheel engagement of steering assist that had been on the XC90. It wasn’t until I read this string of messages that I now see that Volvo has chosen to bury it on the center display.

Again: What??

So now, whenever I want to engage steering assist on a section of straight-ish highway, I have to dig through the center screen instead of just touching the steering wheel button. Volvo, that’s nuts and you really should undo such a valueless change.
Send feed back to Volvo. Hopefully if enough people care they will revert the code.
 
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