Volvo Cars and Uber are to join forces to develop next-generation autonomous driving cars. The two companies have signed an agreement to establish a joint project that will develop new base vehicles that will be able to incorporate the latest developments in AD technologies, up to and including fully autonomous driverless cars. The base vehicles will be manufactured by Volvo Cars and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. Volvo Cars and Uber are contributing a combined USD300m to the project.
Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies. This will involve Uber adding its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle. Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of its own autonomous car strategy, which will involve fully autonomous driving. The new base vehicle will be developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which underpins the XC90 SUV, as well as the S90 premium saloon and V90 premium estate.
SPA has been developed as part of Volvo Cars’ USD11bn global industrial transformation programme, which started in 2010, and has been prepared from the outset for the latest autonomous drive technologies as well as next-generation electrification and connectivity developments. These capabilities made Volvo the ideal choice for Uber. The development work will be conducted by Volvo Cars engineers and Uber engineers in close collaboration.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “Volvo is one of the most progressive and contemporary car makers in the world. It is a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous drive technology, and possesses an unrivalled safety credibility. We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry.”
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said: “Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”