Volvo announced today that they are joining forces with ride-sharing company Uber to put autonomous SUVs into service. The shocker is that the plan is to have 100 of them on the road and in service by the end of this year.
The plan is to use Volvo XC90 SUVs and add Uber's own autonomous hardware, sensors, and software to the platform. The XC90 was chosen as it rides on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture platform which was developed with the intention of supporting self-driving capability. The design makes it easier to integrate all of the sensors, software, and controls necessary to let the computer drive. Volvo and Uber have contributed a combined $300 million (USD) to fund and complete the project.
In what is expected to be a long-term partnership, the pilot program's 100 SUVs will be deployed in the Pittsburgh, PA area. The current fleet will still require a driver behind the wheel, as they will be required to take over in certain situations. Volvo is still building its own system that will allow full autonomous control, but their own systems are being developed independently of this Uber partnership.