As announced back in 2017, Volvo Cars and Uber revealed a jointly developed self-driving car that is ready for production. The duo entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes.
Volvo will supply XC90 SUVs equipped with extra technologies to support autonomous driving, such as cameras and sensors all around, enabling the possibility to deploy self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service in the future. One of the important features of Volvo’s autonomous drive-ready production vehicle includes 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.
Roofbox sensor kit
Uber will use these base vehicles and plug-and-play its own self-driving system on the roof, which enables the car to drive autonomously. Understandably, these vehicles will be operated in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive, and are monitored by specially trained Uber employees.
We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company – Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive, 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
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 – Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group
We don’t know what Level of automation these base cars have just yet (Presumably Level 4 or 5), however, Volvo has plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for its future autonomous drive cars. These will be the next generation models based on SPA2 architecture.