Volvo Cars, a leader in automotive safety, and Uber, the leading ride-hailing firm, present a jointly developed production car ready for self-driving.
Volvo Cars and Uber have developed several prototypes for a self-driving car, after entering a joint engineering and commercial agreement in 2016 for the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base vehicles.
The new Volvo XC90 SUV uses Volvo’s vehicle platform equipped with key safety features that allow Uber to install its own self-driving system easily; thus, enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service. The combined systems may also remove the need for a Mission Specialist, the specially trained Uber employees that operate and oversee the car in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive.
The XC90 also includes several back-up systems for both steering and braking functions, as well as back-up battery power, that are designed to stop the car immediately, should the primary systems fail. The back-up systems use a group of sensors atop and built into the vehicle that allows for safe operation and maneuvering within an urban environment.
“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 their 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.”
Volvo Cars is further planning for a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for its future autonomous product line in the early 2020s that will be designed for an unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads. The company believes that an autonomous future will generate greater safety benefits for society as a whole.