Volvo will sell XC90 crossovers to Uber, which will outfit them with sensors and hardware to drive autonomously.
Next time you summon an UberX ride-share in San Francisco, it might drive itself. Uber and Volvo are expanding their trial of autonomous vehicles from Pittsburgh to San Francisco.
Uber says that its limited trial in Pittsburgh was a useful experience with varied weather conditions, and that San Francisco will give the company the opportunity to develop its technology on narrower, busier roads that also tend to have more cyclists.
As in Pittsburgh, Volvo will provide XC90 crossovers to Uber, and then the ride-sharing company will outfit the vehicles with the various sensors and hardware necessary for them to drive autonomously.
The vehicles will still have a human Uber employee behind the wheel monitoring its progress and safety. Because of this, Uber says it doesn’t need a special permit to run the autonomous cars on public roads in San Francisco.
“The rules apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them,” the company said in a blog post. “For us, it’s still early days and our cars are not yet ready to drive without a person monitoring them.”
Uber and Volvo also agreed earlier this year to a $300 million joint project to develop “base vehicles” for autonomous driving. Both Volvo and Uber will sell their own versions of the vehicles, which will be based on the same Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) chassis as the XC90, S90, and V90. Volvo says that the deal helps reduce its development costs for self-driving cars “and could ultimately boost sales significantly.”
Sources: Uber, Volvo