Volvo hails Uber as autonomous partner

  • Another threat to the taxi-driving industry?
  • Volvo, Uber ante up with combined $300-million
  • ‘Significant step in the auto industry’
Volvo XC90 Drive Me Image: Volvo Cars
SETTING UP FOR FUTURE: One of Volvo’s XC90 cars, already used in a ‘Drive Me’ project. Image: Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars and global ride-sharing – and frequently controversial – company Uber are to join forces to develop the next generation of autonomous driving cars.

Ford is also planning a collaboration.

Volvo and Uber has signed an agreement to establish a joint project to develop new base vehicles capable of incorporating the latest developments in autonomous technologies, up to and including no-driver cars.

The base vehicles will be assembled by Volvo then bought by Uber; the two companies will contribute  a combined $300-million to the project.

LATEST RESPONSE TO NEEDS IN AUTO MANUFACTURE

At first, Uber will add its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle. Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of its own autonomous car strategy which will involve fully autonomous driving.

The Volvo-Uber project is claimed to be a significant step in the automotive business with  a car manufacturer joining forces with a new Silicon Valley-based entrant to the car industry, underlining the way in which the global automotive industry is evolving in response to the advent of new technologies.

“The alliance is,” the partners says, “the beginning of  what both companies view as a longer term industrial partnership.”

Håkan Samuelsson (see image), president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, told The Corner in a media release: “Volvo is one of the world’s most progressive and contemporary automakers and a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous-drive technology. It also has an unrivalled safety credibility.

Håkan Samuelsson Image: Volvo Cars
HåKAN SAMUELSSON: President and chief executive of Volvo Cars. Image: Volvo Cars

“We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry.”

‘BEST IN SAFETY’

The base vehicle will be developed on the same modular architecture as Volvo’s top-of-the-line. multiple award-winning, XC90 SUV, S90 sedan and V90 (not available in SA_ premium estate.

Volvo and Uber engineers will collaborate closely..

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said: “More than a million people die in car crashes every year – tragedies that self-driving technology can help reduce… but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with Volvo is so important.

“Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future, faster, together.”

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface Image: Volvo Cars
TAKING THE PLACE OF A DRIVER: The IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface. Image: Volvo Cars
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