Volvo and Uber Team Up for Self-Driving Cars
Staff posted on August 18, 2016 |
Both companies will use the same base vehicle for their autonomous car strategies.
(Image courtesy of Volvo.)

(Image courtesy of Volvo.)

Volvo Cars and Uber have announced that they will join forces to develop next-generation autonomous cars.

The two companies have signed an agreement to establish a joint project that will develop new base vehicles that will be able to incorporate the latest developments in autonomous driving technologies, up to and including fully autonomous driverless cars.

The base vehicles will be manufactured by Volvo and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. Volvo and Uber are contributing a combined USD $300 million to the project.

Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies. This will involve Uber adding its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle. Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of its own autonomous car strategy, which will involve fully autonomous driving.

The Volvo-Uber project marks a significant step in the automotive business with a car manufacturer joining forces with a new Silicon Valley-based entrant to the car industry, underlining the way in which the global automotive industry is evolving in response to the advent of new technologies. The alliance marks the beginning of what both companies view as a longer term industrial partnership.

The new base vehicle will be developed on Volvo’s fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is currently used on Volvo’s XC90 SUV as well as the S90 premium sedan and V90 premium estate.

SPA has been developed as part of Volvo’s $11-billion global industrial transformation program, which started in 2010, and has been prepared from the outset for the latest autonomous drive technologies as well as next generation electrification and connectivity developments.

The development work will be conducted by Volvo engineers and Uber engineers in close collaboration. This project will add to the scalability of the SPA platform to include all needed safety, redundancy and new features required to have autonomous vehicles on the road.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said: “Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”

For more on the past, present and future of autonomous vehicles, check out our feature article: The Road to Driverless Cars: 1925-2025.

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