Volvo's autonomous car project, known as Drive Me, is ahead of schedule. Late last year, the company announced plans to test self-driving vehicles on public roadways within a few years but Volvo has already started real-world testing of what they hope will be the world's first large-scale fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Volvo took to a 30-mile stretch of roadway in Gothenburg, Sweden, to perform the testing. A technical specialist at Volvo said the cars are now able to handle things like lane following, speed adaption and merging into traffic without human assistance.

It's an important step towards their goal of having the test cars drive the entire route in highly autonomous mode but of course, it's just the start. The automaker hopes to have a fleet of 100 autonomous cars traversing Gothenburg by 2017. It's a strategy that Volvo hopes will ultimately improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion.

Of course, Volvo isn't the only company investing a wealth of time and money into autonomous vehicles. Audi demonstrated its own self-driving car technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year and Google has been working on its own solution for years.

In a recent post on the matter, the search giant said they've been working to master city street driving in their hometown of Mountain View, California. Google's car has logged more than 700,000 autonomous miles and they're growing more optimistic that self-driving cars will be able to fully operate without human intervention some day.