Volvo XC90 SUV powered by Uber's self-driving tech unveiled

Team OD Updated: June 13, 2019, 05:27 PM IST

If there is any tech topic that has every automobile manufacturer's attention other than alternate fuel, it has to be autonomous driving. Car manufacturers like Tesla, Jaguar and even Tata Motors have been striving to bring it a vehicle that will no longer need human intervention, at all. Premium automobile brand Volvo and ride-hailing firm Uber have now presented a car that is capable of driving by itself. Both the brands entered into a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have been working together to develop several prototypes that will boost the self-drive programme of both the companies.

The recently showcased Volvo XC90 is the first production vehicle to come equipped with  Uber's self-driving system. The latter claims that this XC90 is capable of fully driving itself. This functioning model does come with a steering wheel and pedals, however, Uber intends to offer complete autonomous capability in the future. The tech inside this SUV also comes with an army of backup electronics that will swing into action if the primary systems fail under any circumstance. The backup system will also make sure that the vehicle is brought to a stop safely. The list of safety features that are offered in the XC90 have also been useful for Uber to install their self-driving tech into this SUV. The ultimate goal is to bring this tech into Uber's autonomous ride-sharing service. In addition to Volvo's built-in backup systems, an array of sensors atop and built into the vehicle are designed for Uber's self-driving system to safely operate and manoeuvre in an urban environment. 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 the coming years.

"We believe the autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company," said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. "By the middle of the next decade, we expect one-third of all cars that we sell, to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world's leading ride-hailing companies."

"Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet," said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. "Volvo has long been known for their commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of their newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber's autonomous product suite."

Volvo Cars plans to use a similar autonomous base 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 models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture, will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads. Volvo Cars believes autonomous drive can generate significant potential road safety benefits.

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