Carmaker Volvo Cars and ridehailing firm Uber have unveiled a jointly developed production car capable of full self-driving.
The partners said that the move was “the next step in the strategic collaboration between both companies”, after they entered an agreement in 2016 for Volvo Cars to deliver tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars to Uber in coming years.
The XC90 SUV base vehicle is equipped with key safety features that will allow Uber to install its own self-driving system, enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in the company’s ridesharing network.
“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of 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.”
The companies said that the most important features of the new production vehicle include several back-up systems for steering and braking functions, as well as battery back-up power.
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.”
Volvo said that it plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s.