The day when you’re able to hail a driverless Uber ride is just around the corner, but only if you’re staying in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Towards the end of August, a fleet of Uber-Volvo XC90 wearing a funny hat will be in service for Uber users in Pittsburgh, and this is part of the latest project worth USD300 million signed by both Volvo and Uber to develop next-generation autonomous vehicles.
The base vehicles will be provided by Volvo, but Uber and Volvo will develop their own autonomous driving systems upon the same base vehicle. The XC90 was chosen because it was built upon Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), a modular platform future-proofed from the beginning of its development cycle for future electrification and connectivity developments as well as autonomous drive technologies.
The funny hat thingamajig sitting on top of the roof actually holds some of the equipment needed for the car to be able to drive on its own, which consists of GPS receivers, cameras, radar, and lasers – just to name a few. Sounds scary? Don’t fret, each XC90 will be supervised by a couple of engineers, and yes, both of them are actual real humans.
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, said “Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”