Yesterday, Swedish Luxury carmaker, Volvo and Leading ride-hailing firm, Uber, presented a jointly developed self-driving XC90 which is now production ready. The car is now capable of driving by itself and is the result of the joint engineering agreement and strategic collaboration between the 2 companies. Uber and Volvo Cars entered this joint agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes aimed at accelerating the companies’ self-driving capabilities. The Volvo XC90 SUV is now the first production car in combination with Uber’s self-driving system that is fully capable of driving itself.
This autonomous drive-ready production vehicle includes several back-up systems for both steering and braking functions, as well as a battery back-up generator. So, in case of any system failures, the back-up system is designed to immediately act on bringing the car to a halt. In addition to Volvo’s built-in back-up systems, an array of sensors at the top and on the exterior of the vehicle are specially designed for Uber’s self-driving system to safely operate and manoeuvre in an urban environment. The XC90 base vehicle is also equipped with key safety features that allow Uber to easily install its own self-driving system, thus enabling the possibility of future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s autonomous ridesharing network.
The autonomous drive-capable production vehicle revealed today is a part of Volvo Cars’ 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the delivery of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in the next few years. When paired with Volvo’s vehicle platform, Uber’s self-driving system may one day allow for a safe and reliable journey. Volvo Cars also plan to use a similar autonomous vehicle concept for the introduction of its own future autonomous cars by the early 2020s. These new technologies will be introduced on the next generation of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture and will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.
“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “By the middle of the next decade, we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies.”
“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. “Volvo has long been known for its commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of their newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber’s autonomous product suite.”