Volvo Cars and American ride-hailing firm Uber have unveiled the new self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV in Washington, US.

It follows an agreement signed by both Uber and Volvo Cars in 2016 to collectively develop several prototypes of autonomous cars.

Based in San Francisco, Uber suspended its autonomous vehicle development programme last year after one of its self-driving cars met with an accident in Arizona, killing a pedestrian.

The National Transportation Safety Board probed the accident and found gaps in Uber’s systems. The company subsequently carried out comprehensive safety audits of the system and rectified the errors.

Covid-19 Report — Updated twice a week Understanding the Covid-19 outbreak, the economic impact and implications for specific sectors

Covid-19 executive briefing report cover
GlobalData

Our parent business intelligence company

The Volvo XC90 SUV is equipped with Uber’s self-driving system and can completely drive itself without a human behind the wheel.

The launch of the Volvo XC90 SUVs paves the way for possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber.

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

“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.”

Uber said that XC90 SUVs will be manufactured by Volvo Cars in Sweden. The cars will feature human controls; however, it will also include modified steering and braking systems that can be managed by a computer.

The new vehicles will also come with numerous back-up systems for both steering and braking, along with battery back-up power and new cybersecurity systems.

In case any of the primary systems fail, the back-up systems are designed to instantly takeover the operations of the car to a stop.

Volvo Cars is considering leveraging a similar driverless base vehicle concept for the launch of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s.