Way back in 2016, we reported on a new partnership between Volvo Cars and Uber that saw the two companies aiming to develop a production-ready fully autonomous car; with Volvo ultimately supplying 20,000 examples to Uber between 2019 and 2021. Three years after the collaboration began, that production-ready car is here.
Based on Volvo’s fantastic XC90 SUV, it’s capable of fully-autonomous travel thanks to loads of new sensors and systems that constantly monitor the vehicles surroundings; the most obvious fitted by Uber themselves and can be seen on the roof. Ensuring that the vehicle is as safe as possible, there are several back-up systems for steering and braking, as well as back-up power for the battery and a setting that automatically stops the car should a primary system fail.
All base autonomous XC90s will be supplied to Uber with only the key safety features built-in, the ride-sharing company can then easily install their own self-driving system. The benefit of Uber installing their own software is the ability to continuously update their network of autonomous cars as time goes on.
Speaking of the partnership Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said:
“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,”
“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.”
As well as providing Uber with a base for their self-driving fleet, Volvo aim to use a similar concept to this base model for their own autonomous cars that are coming in the early 2020s; saying that they should be able to allow unsupervised autonomous driving in designated areas (motorways, ring roads and the like).
With technology and safety being a bit part of Volvo, their strive to create usable and safe self-driving cars is really quite important; their President and Chief Executive, Håkan Samuelsson, even believes that one-third of all cars will be fully autonomous by the middle of the next decade.