The pre-series XC90 will soon be released into the wild.
Over at its manufacturing plant in Torslanda, Sweden, Volvo is putting the finishing touches on its autonomous drive XC90 SUV, which is set for full production later in 2019. The much-anticipated SUV has been developed in collaboration with ride-hailing giants Uber; another notch in Volvo's collab belt, which includes search giant Google.
A limited number of pre-series XC90 cars have been built for testing purposes before full production starts. This comes after nearly four years of collaboration between Volvo and Uber aimed at advancing autonomous driving to a point where it can be safely and economically rolled out to the public, with plans of selling thousands of self-driving cars in the near future.
The new XC90 will be built on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture platform (SPA) which made its debut in 2014 when used on the second generation XC90 and has been modified to accommodate the introduction of new autonomous driving systems. The most notable features on the new platform are systems for controlling the steering, braking and battery systems that will act as a failsafe in case a malfunction occurs with the autonomous driving software.
As we've seen with Tesla's newly introduced Smart Summon feature which is designed to hail the car from its parking space to your location, as long as the vehicle is within eyesight, but which has already caused a number of minor bumps and bashes; the real-world implementation of autonomous car control is still in its teething phase, and no amount of testing, at least for now, can prepare a car for the unpredictability of man and nature.
All we know is that if anyone can get close to nailing this new technology, it would herald in a new age in human transport, and Volvo would be remembered for it.