Uber and Volvo Cars entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes aimed at accelerating the companies’ self-driving car development. The Volvo XC90 SUV now presented is the first production car that in combination with Uber’s self-driving system is capable of driving automated.
The basis vehicle is equipped with safety features that allow Uber to install its own self-driving system, enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service.
The most important features of Volvo Cars’ autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include several back-up systems for both steering and braking functions as well as a 12V back-up battery. If one of the primary systems should fail for some reason, the back-up systems are designed to immediately bring the car to a stop.
The car has a 360° near-field perception capability, provided by an array of ultrasonic sensors and cameras, the latters equipped with self-cleaning nozzles.
Upon delivery to Uber, the ride-hailing company will add additional features such as an autonomous driving computer and a sensor kit that enables the vehicle to drive fully autonomously (Level 4) in urban environments. This sensor kit include a roof-mounted rotating lidar sensor as well as additional cameras and radar sensors.
When paired with Volvo’s vehicle platform, Uber’s self-driving system may one day allow for safe, reliable autonomous ridesharing without the need for a Mission Specialist, the specially trained Uber employees operating and overseeing the car in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive.
The autonomous drive-capable production vehicle revealed today is part of Volvo Cars’ 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in coming years. In a video , Volvo explains that it is developing a similar vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s. These technologies, to be introduced on the next generation of Volvo