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Volvo unveils production-ready autonomous XC90 for Uber

Volvo and Uber have unveiled a fully autonomous production XC90 that could be used to provide autonomous ridesharing services in the future.

The Volvo XC90 SUV is the first production car that in combination with Uber’s self-driving system is capable of fully driving itself

The XC90 marks the first production car to be developed under the firms’ $300m collaboration announced three years ago – the work has already seen a number of prototypes engineered – and has been designed to accommodate self-driving technology developed by Uber itself along with built-in back-up systems from Volvo; these are designed to immediately kick in if any of the primary systems fail.

According to Uber, its self-driving system may one day allow for safe, reliable autonomous ridesharing without the need for a ‘Mission Specialist’ on-board to monitor its use and take over driving if needed. The agreement with Volvo covers the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in the coming years.

“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. “Volvo has long been known for its commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of its 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 Cars plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s, which will be based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture and will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.

“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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.