Because no one actually likes to drive, right?
Volvo and Uber are no strangers to each other. The two companies previously had a partnership that saw the latter testing a fleet of self-driving XC90s in San Francisco. While there may have been a few mishaps along the way, the two companies saw no reason to end the relationship. In fact, it’s now been greatly expanded. Volvo has just announced that it will sell Uber tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles beginning in 2019. The deal will last through 2021.
The vehicles will be built on Volvo’s new modular architecture developed in-house. That’s the same platform that underpins the S90 and V90, and the new XC60 midsize SUV. However, this agreement allows for Volvo to continue developing its own autonomous cars. In fact, it plans to launch its first fully autonomous car in 2021, coincidentally (or not) the same year this partnership with Uber expires. In the past, Volvo engineers worked with their Uber counterparts to develop the XC90 SUVs that were later outfitted with self-driving tech. Those XC90s were equipped with “all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.”
This new partnership will be similar in nature, but the working relationship will be greatly enhanced. Volvo, thanks to an infusion of Chinese investment from parent company Geely, is clearly setting itself up as one of the auto industry’s most technologically advanced when it comes to self-driving tech. There’s also the new standalone division, Polestar, which is taking direct aim at Tesla. We’re saying this right now, Volvo Cars (and Polestar) is the company to watch.