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Uber makes self-driving auto deal with Volvo

21 November, 2017, 01:00 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • By Niklas Pollard and Heather Somerville

Volvo has announced it will supply "tens of thousands" of self-driving-capable cars to Uber, the San-Francisco-based ride-hailing company.

Volvo and Uber have been working closely on the technology of the purpose-built XC90, which will be delivered in a way that Uber can easily mount its own self-driving tech on the auto roof.

And Volvo say the new self-driving model won't be exclusive to Uber and the deal won't impact their own goal of having fully autonomous cars available to the public from around 2021. "Today's agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction".

But the new deal vastly increases the number of Volvo driverless cars that Uber can work with, showing the scope of its ambitions.

Jeff Miller, Uber's head of vehicle partnerships said: "In a self-driving world there is no human, so you need redundant steering and braking and actuation systems, such that if there is an electrical or mechanical failure, the back-up system can kick in".


In a self-driving world, the Uber app could be used to summon unmanned Volvo's to pick up passengers.

Uber's new fleet of XC90s will go further than the existing test vehicles, in that they will incorporate redundant systems for braking and steering that will allow them to operate without a human safety driver on board.

Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson said its aim is "to be the supplier of choice for autonomous-driving, ride-sharing service providers globally". Uber also paints the right to order vehicles from other OEMs to help contribute to its fleet as part of the deal.

The news comes weeks after Waymo, Uber's key competitor, began testing driverless cars in Arizona with no back-up driver.

Although, Uber and Volvo have entered into an agreement, there is still no time period set when Uber will launch its driverless ride hailing service. Uber's US$70 billion valuation already puts the group nearly on a par with Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.

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