Stockholm — A Volvo Cars joint venture has won approval to begin hands-free testing of its software for self-driving cars on Swedish highways, partner Veoneer said on Monday. Veoneer said the Zenuity joint venture’s software for level four autonomous driving — the second-highest level — would be tested in a Volvo car by trained drivers with their hands off the steering wheel at a maximum speed of 80km/h. The venture is striving to keep up with larger rivals in the race to develop self-driving vehicles. US companies are leading the pack, with Google’s Waymo in 2018 winning the first approval to test cars without safety drivers on Californian public roads. General Motors’s Cruise has said it is ready to deploy a self-driving car with no manual controls, while Germany’s BMW and Audi have also secured licences to test their vehicles. Securing permission has got tougher after a deadly accident involving a self-driving car Uber was testing using its own software in a Volvo vehicle. Uber l...

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