The race to create and deliver self-driving cars and partnerships to commercialize them marches on.
Now Volvo Cars and Uber unveiled a jointly developed production car capable of driving itself.
The two companies entered into a joint engineering agreement in 2016. Since then, they’ve developed several prototypes and now have a production car, a Volvo XC90 SUV that uses Uber’s self-driving system.
“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety,” stated 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 self-driving Volvo vehicle includes several backup systems for steering and braking functions as well as battery backup power. If any system fails, the backup systems are designed to bring the car to a stop.
Uber’s self-driving system still requires a “mission specialist,” a trained Uber employee operating and overseeing the car in areas suitable for autonomous drive, according to Volvo.
Volvo said it plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle for self-driving cars in the future. Until then, the company intends to add autonomy features to create “a better driving experience by taking away mundane tasks such as stop-start driving in traffic jams.”