Volvo Partners With Uber, Unleashes Self-Driving XC90s in Pittsburgh

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volvo partners with uber unleashes self driving xc90s in pittsburgh

Volvo is partnering with ride-hailing service Uber, a $300 million deal expected to spawn a fleet of self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads.

Both companies plan to develop their own autonomous technology using a Volvo “base” vehicle, but Pittsburgh will see a crop of self-driving Swedes by the end of the year, Automotive News reports.

As part of the agreement, Uber will outfit 100 XC90 plug-in SUVs with technology created at its Pittsburgh technology center. The company will test a slew of gadgetry — cameras, sensors, software, radar and lidar — as the vehicles drive themselves through the city. A new vehicle, built on Volvo’s modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), will test next-generation technologies at some point in the future.

Uber’s goal is to eventually do away with its drivers. Passengers would be picked up by a fleet of self-driving vehicles and dropped off at a programmed destination. No more small talk about the weather with a complete stranger.

Earlier this year, Fortune reported that Uber was using a specially outfitted Ford Fusion to map the city’s roads and test autonomous technology, but the automaker denied any partnership with the company.

The XC90s roaming around Pittsburg won’t be empty — due to regulations and safety concerns, Uber engineers will ride shotgun to keep an eye on things. Volvo plans to use the same vehicle for its own autonomous driving program.

“The alliance marks the beginning of what both companies view as a longer term industrial partnership,” the automaker said in a statement.

In a statement delivered to Automotive News, Uber said the company has the support of city leaders and law enforcement, otherwise the self-driving project would be a non-starter.

[Image: Volvo Car Corporation}

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  • Threeer Threeer on Aug 18, 2016

    So will riders have the ability to opt out of the ride (or at least be notified that the car being sent is sans-driver?) if it is an unmanned vehicle? And has Uber come out directly stating that they want to do away with the entire network of manned vehicles? I don't want to come off as too much "get off my lawn" here, but I'm not sure we're quite ready for completely autonomous vehicles, especially as long as there are manned vehicles still on the road.

    • See 2 previous
    • Orenwolf Orenwolf on Aug 18, 2016

      @mopar4wd Indeed!

  • Chocolatedeath Chocolatedeath on Aug 18, 2016

    I just love these

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.