Car maker Volvo Cars said Monday it has signed a framework agreement with Uber, the ride sharing company, to sell “tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles” between 2019 and 2021.
The non-exclusive agreement enhances the strategic partnership between Volvo Cars and Uber announced in August 2016 and also marks a new chapter in the convergence of car makers and Silicon Valley-based technology companies.
“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
The base vehicles are developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world, according to Volvo, and is currently used on Volvo Cars’ top-of-the-line 90 series cars as well as on the new XC60 midsize SUV.
Volvo Cars’ engineers have worked closely together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are to be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles incorporate all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.
Volvo said it will use the same base vehicle in the development of its own independent autonomous car strategy, which is planned to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous car in 2021.