A few years back, Volvo and Uber partnered to develop a production car capable of fully autonomous driving. They did hit a snag or two during the three years of development, but now the companies have fully revealed their first self-driving production car. Based on a Volvo XC90, the base car has been designed to work with Uber’s fully autonomous driving system.
Unlike Uber’s previous self-driving Volvo, this new one comes standard with Uber’s autonomous driving system instead of having to be retrofitted it onto the vehicle. The new model packs sensors both above and built into the vehicle to help it navigate the streets on its own. Despite being an autonomous model, the XC90 will still have a steering wheel and pedals.
In order to protect occupants, Volvo has equipped the XC90 with multiple back up systems into the vehicle including steering, braking, and battery power. If the main components fail, the backup systems will bring the SUV to a controlled stop.
For now, the autonomous Volvo XC90 will not be driverless in order to prevent accidents from happening. Do recall that a pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber last year. However, Uber says that the system has been designed to fully operate without human input, allowing for ‘reliable autonomous ridesharing’ in the future.
Volvo will also be using the new autonomous vehicle as a base vehicle concept for the introduction of their future autonomous vehicles. The autonomous technology found here is expected to make its way to the next-generation Volvo models which will use the SPA2 platform.
“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company. By the middle of the next decade we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.