One of the Volvo XC90s undergoing tests with Uber in San Francisco in 2016. Below: One of the existing Volvo XC90 models fitted with Uber’s own autonomous driving technology.     Picture: QUICKPIC
One of the Volvo XC90s undergoing tests with Uber in San Francisco in 2016. Below: One of the existing Volvo XC90 models fitted with Uber’s own autonomous driving technology. Picture: QUICKPIC

Volvo Cars has signed a framework agreement with Uber, the ride-hailing company, to supply tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

The base vehicles are developed on Volvo’s modular Scalable Product Architecture, which is used on its 90 cluster cars, as well as on the new XC60 medium SUV which arrives in SA in 2018.

The nonexclusive agreement enhances the strategic partnership between Volvo and Uber announced in August 2016 and 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 chooses to be an active part of that disruption," says Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson. "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for autonomous drive ride-sharing service providers. The agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction."

Volvo says its engineers have worked closely together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 SUVs that are to be supplied to the ride-hailing service. 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," says Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at Uber. "This agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale."

At the same time as providing Uber with autonomous driving-compatible cars, Volvo will use the same base vehicle in the development of its independent autonomous car strategy, which is planned to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous car in 2021.

Please sign in or register to comment.