Uber signs deal with Volvo in bid to build autonomous taxi fleet

Volvo has announced an agreement to sell a fleet of autonomous driving compatible vehicles to ride-sharing firm Uber.

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Under the non-exclusive agreement, the Swedish car giant (which is owned by China’s Geely group) will reportedly supply Uber with 24,000 vehicles based on its so-called Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the system used on its 90 series cars as well as the new XC60 SUV.

The deal is the latest development in a long-term alliance between the two firms. As reported in The Engineer in August 2016, they agreed to jointly invest $300m in a project to put a fleet of up to 100 autonomous taxis on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Commenting on the deal Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said: “The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology, and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption.”

Volvo engineers have worked closely together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are to be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles incorporate all the necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous-driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.

“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale,”  added Jeff Miller, head of Auto Alliances at Uber.

Alongside the Uber deal, Volvo is continuing with the development of its own autonomous car strategy, and has previously announced its intention to release its first fully autonomous car by 2021. The firm has also announced plans to carry out one of the largest and most extensive autonomous driving trials in the UK, through a separate project known as Drive Me London.