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Volvo to develop self-driving cars with DiDi

Volvo XC90 DiDi

Volvo Cars and DiDi Autonomous Driving have signed a strategic collaboration agreement on autonomous vehicles for DiDi’s self-driving test fleet.

As part of the agreement, Volvo will provide DiDi - the self-driving technology arm of mobility technology platform Didi Chuxing - with XC90 cars equipped with necessary backup systems for functions such as steering and braking.

DiDi will integrate the additional software and hardware required to make the cars ready for autonomous driving.

“This strategic collaboration with DiDi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars’ chief executive. “Combining DiDi’s expanding robotaxi programme with our safe cars creates a great match to build trust among consumers for autonomous ride-hailing.”

The vehicles will be the first to integrate DiDi Gemini, DiDi's new self-driving hardware platform, and are intended to be deployed for ride-hailing in DiDi’s network in the future.

The built-in backup systems and safety features on the XC90s, combined with DiDi’s advanced self-driving system, will eventually allow the cars to operate without safety drivers in robotaxi services.

In 2020, Volvo Cars provided DiDi with Volvo XC60s for use in Shanghai’s first pilot robotaxi programme. People in certain areas of Shanghai could book trips by robotaxi in the DiDi app and be driven autonomously, while the cars were monitored by a safety driver and engineer.

Volvo previously worked with Uber to develop autonomous ride-hailing vehicles, but Uber pulled the plug on the project last year.

Building on today’s agreement, Volvo Cars and DiDi Autonomous Driving look to build a long-term partnership as DiDi continues to expand its autonomous test fleets across China and the US, and scales up its commercial robotaxi operations.

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