Volvo and Uber to develop self-driving cars

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Volvo XC90 and Uber

Volvo is joining forces with global taxi-hailing firm Uber to develop self-driving cars.

The two have signed an agreement on a $300m joint project to develop vehicles that will be able to use the latest developments in autonomous driving technologies, right up to completely self-controlled driverless cars.

Volvo will design the base vehicle, which will also be used for the Swedish brand’s own developments in autonomous driving and Uber the systems necessary to control it.

The base vehicles will be developed on Volvo’s modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform which already underpins recent new models from the Swedish brand including the XC90 SUV and the S90 and V90 saloon and estate.

The two companies expect the joint project to be the first part of a longer-term industrial partnership, and says that the tie-up underlines how the global automotive industry is reacting to the advent of new technologies.

Volvo, which markets its cars heavily on their safety performance and has already committed to reaching a point where not a single person is killed or seriously injured in one of its cars, sees the tie-up as highly beneficial to this aim.

“We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies – this alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry,” says Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

Uber’s chief executive Travis Kalanick says combining the capabilities of his company and Volvo will allow both to get to the future faster, together.

“Over one million people die in car accidents every year,” Kalanick adds. “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.”

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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