Uber expands autonomous vehicle project with Volvo
Uber has expanded its autonomous vehicle project with Volvo and is now running a modified XC90 around San Francisco, USA.
UBER HAS EXPANDED its autonomous vehicle project with the use of a specially converted Volvo XC90 on the streets of San Francisco. Initial testing by the two companies, which signed an agreement to work together in August of this year (2016) took place in Pittsburgh.
“The latest cars to be used in San Francisco have been built by Volvo and sold to Uber, after which Uber’s own self-driving hardware and software package has been added, most visibly in the roof-mounted control apparatus,” Volvo said in a statement.
The cars aren’t ferrying passengers. Yet. And as part of the test programme will have an “Uber technician on board to supervise the car’s operation”.
“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president product planning at Volvo Cars. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners at Uber.”
Both Uber and Volvo have tipped USD$300m into the fighting fund, and both Uber and Volvo will share the same base vehicle for the next phase of their autonomous vehicle development.
The partnership with Uber is just one string to Volvo’s autonomous driving bow. In January 2017, it will launch a new business called Drive Me, “which will be the world’s largest autonomous driving test in which up to 100 AD cars will be given to members of the public to be driven on real roads around Gothenburg, Sweden. Their experiences will be used to co-develop Volvo’s AD cars”. Volvo has also announced a joint venture with Autoliv to produce ‘own-brand’ autonomous driving assistance equipment for sale back to OEMs.
Question: Is autonomous driving the end of the motor vehicle as we know it, or just a much needed development, like airbags?