Uber is expanding its self-driving car pilot using a fleet of self-converted Volvo XC90 SUVs.
The move marks the next phase in a deepening alliance between Volvo and Uber after the two companies signed an agreement in August 2016 to establish a jointly owned project to develop fully autonomous driverless cars.
The latest cars will be used in San Francisco and have been built by Volvo and sold to Uber, after which Uber’s own self-driving hardware and software package has been added.
“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president product planning at Volvo Cars. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners at Uber.”
In January 2017, Volvo will begin a project entitled Drive Me, which will be the world’s largest autonomous driving test in which up to 100 self-driving cars will be given to members of the public to be driven on real roads around Gothenburg, Sweden.
The second part is a joint venture with Autoliv to set up a new jointly owned company to design and manufacture separately branded autonomous and driver-assistance software technology packages for sale to third-party OEMs.
The third part is the ongoing relationship with Uber to build and co-develop base vehicles for self-driving cars. This deal reduces Volvo’s development costs, gives it a chance to develop cutting-edge technology and could ultimately boost sales significantly.