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Volvo Cars and cab aggregator Uber, presented a jointly developed production car capable of driving by itself. This is the second development in the strategic collaboration between both companies.
Volvo Cars and Uber entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016, and have since developed several prototypes with the sole purpose of accelerating the companies' self-driving car development. The Volvo XC90 SUV unveiled today is the first production car that features Uber's self-driving system. The vehicle is capable of fully driving itself.
The Volvo XC90 is equipped with safety features that allow Uber to install its own self-driving system, outlining future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber's network as an autonomous ride sharing service.
The most important features of Volvo Cars' autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include back-up systems for steering and braking functions, as well as battery back-up power. Should any of the primary systems fail, the back-up systems are designed to to bring the car to a stop immediately.
In addition to Volvo's built-in back-up systems, the car features a bunch of sensors that are built into the vehicle. They are designed for Uber's self-driving system to safely operate and maneuver in an urban environment.
The self drive-capable production vehicle unveiled is part of Volvo Cars' 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars over the next few years.
Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief Executive Officer, Volvo Cars, said, "We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company. 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."
Eric Meyhofer, Chief Executive Officer, 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," he added.
Volvo plans to introduce autonomous technologies on the next generation of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture. Features will include unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.
Volvo Cars believes autonomous drive can generate significant potential road safety benefits for society as a whole when all cars are autonomous. Until then, tech like this can take away tiring tasks like stop-start driving in traffic jams.
Thoughts About Volvo's Self-Driving Production Vehicles
Interesting, isn't it? Imagine not having to drive at stop-start traffic. We hope this tech comes to India soon and not just with Volvo, but with every manufacturer. What a convenient feature for a driver.