Uber’s self-driving Volvo is ready for action

Uber and Volvo have unveiled a production-ready self-driving XC90. It's the fruit of a three-year collaboration after they partnered in 2016

Volvo and Uber partner on autonomous cars

Uber and Volvo have revealed the result of a collaborative project running since the two companies entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016. The self-driving Uber-branded Volvo XC90 is production-ready and could be sent into action now.

Does the Uber Volvo have a ‘driver’?

It seems redundant to ask whether the newly-announced self-driving Volvo has a driver but no, not exactly. What it does have is a ‘mission specialist’. That’s a specially-trained Uber employee that operates and oversees the car when in use in areas that allow autonomous cars to run.

Is it safe?

Volvo and Uber partner on autonomous cars

Volvo is arguably the best company to approach for an autonomous taxi. As such, a great deal has been made of the numerous backup systems that these vehicles will come with. These are redundancies that will safely run the vehicle, or bring it to a stop, in the event of something like steering, drive or brakes failing, including battery back-up power.

In fact, the XC90 was a chosen base for the project given its excellent arsenal of safety features and an impeccable safety record.

Sensors on top and built into the vehicle run Uber’s self-driving system, allowing it to operate in built-up and busy areas.

Tens of thousands of autonomous Uber Volvos to come

This is the first of a five-figure sum of drive-ready base vehicles to be delivered by Volvo for Uber’s self-driving service over the coming years.

“We believe autonomous-drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

“By the middle of the next decade, we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies.”

Volvo and Uber partner on autonomous cars

“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group.

“Volvo has long been known for its commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of its newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber’s autonomous product suite.”

Related Articles

Ethan Jupp
I'm Content Editor at MR. Road trips music and movies are my vices. Perennially stuck between French hot hatches and Australian muscle cars.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


What is the margin for error of UK speed cameras?

How far beyond the speed limit will a camera flash? We look at the margin of error for speed cameras – and why this threshold exists.

Morgan Plus Four (2020) review

Driving a Morgan Plus Four demands a certain level of commitment. But on the right road, it rewards with good old-fashioned fun.

‘Pretty terrible’ electric car charging app to be shut down

The Polar Instant app will be closed down following negative feedback from EV drivers. A new BP Chargemaster app takes its place.

Average mileage for UK drivers plummets by a third

Telematics data shows a huge reduction in average distance driven each year since 2002. And the figure is likely to fall further...