As technology continues to make inroads into auto production, Volvo is making a huge commitment to Uber, the ride-sharing service, with the announcement that it will make tens of thousands of autonomous driving vehicles available between 2019 and 2021.
“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
The non-exclusive agreement will see Volvo increase the 2016 strategic partnership with Uber, by selling the autonomous driving vehicles to Uber (presumably with favourable financing options) for use by millions of users.
Uber has actually had a hand in developing the autonomous driving XC90 sport utility vehicle that Volvo will be making available, featuring all the core safety, redundancy and autonomous driving technology, on which Uber will add its proprietary self-driving technology.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s Head of Auto Alliances. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
The base XC90 was developed on Volvo’s fully-modular, Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), regarded by many as one of the most advanced and robust vehicle platforms in the world, and one used by all products in Volvo’s 90-Series vehicles (S90, V90 and XC90), as well as the XC60 SUV.
For its own autonomous driving program, Volvo will use the same base XC90 in the development of its first fully autonomous car due to be launched in 2021.