This is not your normal XC90.
For decades, Volvo has been known for its commitment to safety, and now it's moving full steam ahead with self-driving technology in the safest possible manner, of course. The automaker announced it's teaming with China's DiDi Autonomous Driving, the self-driving tech division of DiDi Chuxing, which bought Uber China a few years ago.
Several examples of the Volvo XC90 are being modified with the necessary software and hardware to join DiDi's self-driving fleet. Things like backup systems for steering and braking and other related software are being integrated into DiDi's already-in-place testing network. These XC90s will actually be the first to integrate DiDi's new self-driving hardware platform.
Assuming all goes well, it will eventually be deployed to the company's ride-hailing infrastructure. The SUV already comes with numerous backup systems and safety features and, once combined with DiDi's advanced tech, will be able to operate as robotaxis without the need for human safety drivers. This collaboration effort actually got underway last year when Volvo first provided DiDi with XC60s for use in Shanghai's first robotaxi pilot program. Things evidently went well enough to expand this partnership.
"This strategic collaboration with DiDi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice to the world's leading ride-hailing companies," said Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars.
"Combining DiDi's expanding robotaxi program with our safe cars creates a great match to build trust among consumers for autonomous ride-hailing."
Volvo obviously isn't the only major automaker working on self-driving technology, but this new deal is certainly placing it with the industry leaders thanks to real-world testing. Dedicated autonomous driving companies like Waymo and Cruise are also conducting advanced testing on public roads in some states. Tesla continues to test its FSD system, but as we know it's more like an advanced Level 2 Autopilot rather than full-on Level 5 self-driving, which doesn't require a human behind the wheel.