Cars, a leader in automotive safety, and Uber, the leading ride-hailing firm,
have presented a jointly developed production car capable of driving by itself,
the next step in the strategic collaboration between both companies.
Uber and Volvo Cars entered a joint
engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes aimed
at accelerating the companies’ self-driving car development. The Volvo XC90 SUV
presented is the first production car that in combination with Uber’s
self-driving system is capable of fully driving itself.
The XC90 base vehicle is equipped with key
safety features that allow Uber to easily install its own self-driving system,
enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s network
as an autonomous ridesharing service.
The most important features of Volvo Cars’
autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include several back-up systems for
both steering and braking functions as well as battery back-up power. If any of
the primary systems should fail for some reason, the back-up systems are
designed to immediately act to bring the car to a stop.
In addition to Volvo’s built-in back-up
systems, an array of sensors atop and built into the vehicle are designed for
Uber’s self-driving system to safely operate and maneuver in an urban
When paired with Volvo’s vehicle platform,
Uber’s self-driving system may one day allow for safe, reliable autonomous
ridesharing without the need for a Mission Specialist, the specially trained
Uber employees operating and overseeing the car in areas designated and
suitable for autonomous drive.
The autonomous drive-capable production
vehicle is part of Volvo Cars’ 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the
delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in coming
Volvo Cars plans to use a similar autonomous
base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars
in the early 2020s. These technologies, to be introduced on the next generation
of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture, will include features
designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas
such as highways and ring roads.
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