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Volvo and Uber have joined forces to create a world-leading autonomous driving program. Taking advantage of both companies’ technical capabilities, the partnership is set to develop safe and reliable autonomous driving cars.

Volvo and Uber envision a future where people’s lives will be enhanced by safe and effortless mobility, and this partnership is the first step in achieving that vision.

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Volvo Cars is a global auto manufacturing company known for its commitment to safety, environmental performance, and quality. Founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1927, Volvo Cars has become a top producer of premium cars, distributing to more than 100 countries worldwide. As part of the Geely Holding Group since 2010, Volvo Cars continues to build on its core values and maintain a powerful presence in the automotive market.

Uber is an American multinational transportation network company operating in over 600 cities and 72 countries worldwide. Founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, Uber has revolutionised the transportation industry with their ridesharing service disrupting traditional taxi and car rental companies. Through their platform, riders can request a ride using their smartphone app or website. Now boasting over 3 million drivers globally and 6 billion trips completed, Uber’s brand name is well recognized worldwide.

In August 2016, Volvo Cars and Uber announced a partnership agreement that would enable both parties “to explore joint projects from sharing expertise on safety technology through to piloting autonomous driving cars on public roads”¹ With Uber’s extensive knowledge of ridesharing services and access to data sources while leveraging Volvo’s renowned know-how of auto manufacturing capabilities, both companies are at the forefront of developing next-generation transport solutions – autonomous driving cars² – that could transform how people take trips around cities throughout the world.

Purpose of collaboration

Volvo Cars and Uber have joined forces to develop a fully autonomous driving car. Through this collaboration, the two companies aim to further their innovation in autonomous driving and create safe, sustainable and reliable self-driving cars of the future. The shared mission of safety has brought Volvo Cars and Uber together, with both companies committed to taking all necessary precautions while testing their technology on public roads. This joint effort marks an important milestone in Volvo Cars’ ambition to be at the forefront of developing state-of-the-art autonomous drive technologies.

Volvo is supplying vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems as well as supporting technologies such Uber’s proprietary software for self-driving control systems. Through their combined knowledge, experience and skills, Volvo Cars and Uber plan to accelerate overall safety performance for this new transportation solution on public roads. Furthermore, leveraging both companies’ research investments will enable them to make autonomous vehicles available more quickly, saving money by avoiding duplicative efforts in testing on public roads.

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This research project will comprise a fleet of approximately 100 specially adapted Volvo XC90 premium SUVs serving as test platforms for Uber’s self-driving system prototype during pilot programs in select cities worldwide. The ultimate goal is for citizens everywhere to eventually benefit from access to safe and reliable autonomous ride sharing services provided by user friendly apps like those Volvo provides today with its Drive Me program in Gothenburg and its XC90 models on Car by Volvo app offered with Care by Volvo service worldwide.

Volvo and Uber’s Autonomous Driving Technology

In the past few years, Volvo Cars and Uber have joined forces to develop autonomous driving cars. This is a groundbreaking partnership that could have massive implications for the future of the automotive industry.

This collaboration could potentially lead to a whole new age of self-driving vehicles. Let’s look at how this new technology works and what it could mean for the future of autonomous driving.

Overview of the technology

Volvo and Uber have come together to develop and introduce autonomous driving technology with self-driving cars. The two companies have collaborated to engineer a base vehicle platform, integrating features such as cameras, LiDAR, mapping, navigation systems, sensors and software. The platform is designed to support the development of Volvo’s autonomous driving system components, which Uber tests in real world conditions.

Using this new platform, Volvo and Uber will create custom built vehicles that can sense their environment and navigate without input from a human driver. This will reduce the risk of accidents and remove the need for manual interactions like steering or braking. In addition, it could provide better access to ride-sharing services for people who don’t have access or cannot afford their car, as well as potentially reducing traffic congestion by allowing for platooning (when multiple cars of different makes travel together in close formation allowing them to speed up or slow down faster than independently driven cars).

The autonomous driving system will be able to interpret data from various sensors placed in front of and around the car that detect lane lines, traffic signs, pedestrians and other objects in its environment. Then, utilising artificial intelligence (AI), it can plan paths that lead it safely around obstacles while optimally accelerating, powering up hills, or braking when going downhill. AI technology can also detect irregularities like changes in road patterns ahead of time so it can accurately adjust speed accordingly. This will allow vehicles to use less fuel making them more cost efficient while increasing road safety levels due to enhanced data gathering abilities.

Benefits of the technology

The Volvo and Uber collaboration is focused on delivering safe, reliable, and high-quality self-driving cars. Ubiquitous on-demand American ride-hailing company Uber has been granted permission to start testing self-driving cars on public roads in Pennsylvania since March 2017. Following an intense global search for a technology partner to co host their joint project, Swedish multinational OEM Volvo Cars was selected as the most suitable partner in December 2016.

The collaborative project combines Volvo’s expertise in automotive manufacturing and engineering with Uber’s experience in developing self-driving software and operational capabilities. Combining the two forces promises not only to deliver a safer mode of transport, but one that could also generate more efficient urban mobility systems.

By combining their respective technical competencies, Volvo and Uber can develop an autonomous driving platform capable of tackling many of today’s urban challenges around commuting and safety. Leveraging their unique advancements in Level 4/5 autonomous vehicle technology, this joint venture has the potential to ensure improved safety beyond what either company could accomplish independently – offering a starting point towards the implementation of Level 4/5 automation into the commercial ride-hail fleets operated by Uber worldwide. In addition, such an advanced driving platform can also create tangible benefits including:

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  • Savings through improved fleet efficiency – Reducing overall operational costs incurred due to maintenance and overcapacity while increasing travel reliability by providing busy commuters with an efficient transportation system;
  • The possibility of completely networked fleets – Utilisation of existing networks across multiple cities, increasing the capabilities available from each cell;
  • Creation of business opportunities – Automation technologies that open doors for additional businesses opportunities through their broad range applications;
  • Greater access for disabled drivers – Making it easier for people with physical disabilities or mental health conditions to access services that may not have been previously accessible due to barriers presented by manual driving;
  • Safer cars connected to smarter infrastructure – Potentially creating increased levels of safety through advances such as sensory steering signals that detect road hazards such as pedestrians or obstructions.

Challenges Facing Volvo and Uber

Volvo Cars and Uber have joined forces to develop autonomous driving cars. This partnership can revolutionise how people move and cities plan their transport systems. However, there are numerous challenges they must face while developing and deploying such technology.

In this article, we will explore some of the obstacles Volvo and Uber must overcome to successfully deploy driverless cars.

Regulatory hurdles

While Volvo and Uber have come together to develop autonomous driving cars, several regulatory hurdles must be overcome before this technology can be utilised in the commercial market. One of the biggest regulatory hurdles facing the development of driverless cars is the lack of a uniform standard for legal requirements and safety precautions for self-driving vehicles. In addition, while some states have already passed legislation allowing for testing autonomous cars on public roads, there is still no global framework governing its use.

Additionally, there are concerns over whether or not consumer protection laws will adequately cover passengers when using autonomous vehicles. For example, many countries do not require manufacturer liability insurance for self-driving vehicles, leaving passengers vulnerable to accidents that may occur while using such vehicles. It is also unclear how current laws will address instances where an accident occurs due to an error made by a human driver while interacting with an autonomous vehicle.

As Volvo and Uber continue to work on developing driverless car technologies, addressing regulatory issues is of paramount importance in ensuring that these technologies can provide consumers with the safest and most efficient transportation possible.

Technological challenges

Introducing autonomous vehicles presents technological challenges that must be addressed before full deployment. However, manufacturers such as Volvo and Uber are working together to develop the necessary components to make a self-driving car possible.

Sensor technologies must be integrated with advanced software systems to accurately perceive the environment, recognize objects and interpret data. Furthermore, the accuracy of these computing models must be maintained even in challenging situations such as low light, rain or darkness. In addition, some self-driving cars also incorporate LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems to scan environments for obstacles or changes in terrain.

Navigation algorithms must also be developed for autonomous vehicles to safely travel from point A to point B without human input or intervention. This requires complex algorithms that consider real-time traffic conditions and predetermined routes for the driverless car to avoid accidents and reach its destination efficiently. In this regard, navigation systems incorporate satellite navigation (GPS) technologies and route mapping solutions with Internet access for traffic data updates.

There are also safety concerns regarding collisions between an autonomous vehicle and a human-controlled one, which could cause injury or death; this however has been gradually improved over time via regulation enforcement enforcing safer traffic patterns on roads and highways versus reckless driving due to careless drivers on the roadway. Furthermore, security measures are necessary to ensure that data transmitted by an autonomous car is not intercepted by malicious actors who could gain unauthorised access into its systems or manipulate vital functions of the vehicle.

Solutions to the Challenges

Autonomous driving cars present many challenges that need to be solved for them to succeed. Volvo Cars and Uber have teamed up to develop solutions to these challenges, ranging from the technical to the ethical. In doing so, they can potentially revolutionise the automotive industry and transportation.

Let’s look at some solutions these two companies are working together to provide.

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Working with local governments

Since Volvo Cars and Uber first joined forces to develop autonomous driving cars, they have realised the importance of aligning their efforts with local governments. This recognition of the need for collaboration has been reflected in their commitment to engage with governmental bodies and community stakeholders to ensure their solutions are compatible with existing regulations, while considering safety and security.

Volvo Cars and Uber have emphasised working closely with authorities in the cities where they are launching autonomous vehicle technology, including San Francisco, Seoul, and Singapore. Through this relationship building, Volvo Cars and Uber hope to develop ‘roadmaps’ for successfully integrating their solutions into each local context in a way that benefits public transport infrastructure and city dwellers’ safety and quality of life.

This collaborative approach is part of Volvo Cars’s commitment to become an integral part of all societies it services — a commitment shared by Uber who, through its mission statement “to make transportation smarter by bringing together people and technology” has likewise prioritised respecting societal needs when introducing new technologies. In other words: Volvo Cars will be working with urban leaders, regulators, businesses and other companies (such as Uber) on options that can represent solutions to current transportation-related challenges using autonomous driving technologies.

Investing in research and development

The ongoing joint venture set between Volvo Cars and Uber has contributed to several investments related to the research and development of self-driving cars. In 2017, Volvo Cars had already expressed its ambition to be at the forefront of autonomous driving technology. As part of the joint venture, both companies are working closely to develop driverless cars with advanced safety features. This partnership is expected to accelerate their autonomous vehicle research and development, enabling them to reach the commercial launch target much quicker than either company would achieve on its own.

The joint venture consists of a ¥3 billion (around $267 million) investment from Volvo into Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). In addition, both companies are making substantial investments in research and development demonstrating a clear commitment to continue jointly investing outside this agreement. This demonstrates an overall shared commitment between both companies in understanding how society might benefit from fully autonomous vehicles in areas such as increased safety, convenience, emissions reduction and accessibility.

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