Volvo and Uber have been collaborating on autonomous ride-hailing and cab tech for a while now, with a small number of self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs already in Uber’s fleet in Pittsburgh. Today, the two companies announced plans to expand their collaboration- to the tune of tens of thousands of new SPA platform Volvo cars.
Volvo was chosen by Uber because its vehicles- equipped with lane-keeping software, adaptive cruise control, and an advanced accident avoidance package that can distinguish between cars, cyclists, and even large animals– have most of the hardware needed to go fully autonomous, already. That’s something that’s made Uber’s tech people pretty happy. “We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Head of Auto Alliances, Uber. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
You can read the official Volvo Cars press release, below, then let us know what you think about the Volvo/Uber partnership in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Volvo Cars to Supply Tens of Thousands of Autonomous Drive Compatible Cars to Uber
The base vehicles are developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world and is currently used on Volvo Cars’ top-of-the-line 90 series cars (XC90, S90, V90) as well as on the new XC60 midsize SUV.
The non-exclusive agreement enhances the strategic partnership between Volvo Cars and Uber announced in August 2016 and also marks a new chapter in the convergence of car makers and Silicon Valley-based technology companies.
“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
Volvo Cars’ engineers have worked closely together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are to be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles incorporate all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Head of Auto Alliances, Uber. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
At the same time as providing Uber with AD compatible cars, Volvo will use the same base vehicle in the development of its own independent autonomous car strategy, which is planned to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous car in 2021.