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SAN FRANCISCO, California – Uber, the ride-sharing technology (read taxi-on-call) company, is expanding its self-driving pilot to San Francisco, California, with converted self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV’s.
The move, Volvo says, is the next phase in a deepening Volvo-Uber alliance: the two companies have already signed an agreement (August 2016) to establish a joint-owned project to build base vehicles to be developed into autonomous/driverless cars.
Such cars have already been tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The cars to be used in San Francisco were built by Volvo and sold to Uber, after which Uber’s own self-driving hardware and software package was added, most visibly the roof-mounted control apparatus.
TECHIE ON BOARD
The cars will drive the streets of San Francisco autonomously but, as part of the pilot programme, will at all times have an Uber technician on board to supervise the car’s operation.
Mårten Levenstam, Volvo Cars’ vice-president for product planning, told The Corner in a media release: “The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality. Volvo is proud to be at the front of the latest developments in the automotive world with Uber.”
The alliance is just one part of Volvo’s three-part plan to develop autonomous driving (AD) technology. In January 2017 it will launch a ‘Drive Me’ project which, it’s claimed, will be the world’s largest autonomous driving test.
READ MORE Uber/Volvo partnership files on Carman’s Corner
As many as 100 AD cars will be given to ordinary public to use on normal roads in and around Gothenburg, Sweden. Their experiences will be used to co-develop Volvo AD cars.
The second part will be a joint venture with Autoliv, a leading automotive safety technology company, involving a company which will design and produce separately-branded AD and driver assistance software technology for sale to third-party original equipment manufacturers.