Volvo and Uber have revealed the first-ever production-ready self-driving car which both companies have jointly developed as a part of their strategic collaboration. Additionally, Uber has also started drone test runs with McDonalds in San Diego California.
Uber and Volvo Cars signed a joint engineering agreement in 2016 which have since resulted in several prototypes of self-driving cars that have been developed. And now the two companies have finally revealed a Volvo XC90 SUV that uses Uber’s self-driving system that is capable of driving completely autonomously.
The base XC90 is equipped with a large number of safety features that enable Uber to easily install its self-driving system to the SUV. One of the key features of Volvo’s autonomous drive-ready production vehicle includes several back-ups or fail-safe systems for both steering and braking functions in addition to battery back up power.
Should any of the primary systems fail, the back-up technology will intervene immediately and bring a car to halt safely. The particular XC90 which is now self-driving ready with its own internal systems, an additional array of sensors has been fitted on top of the vehicle and built into the vehicle as well that are designed specifically for Uber’s Self-driving programme that allows it to operate and manoeuvre in an urban environment.
Uber plans to roll out more self-driving cars from its network as an autonomous ride-sharing service. When paired with Volvo’ platforms, Uber sees a future where it is safe and reliable autonomous ride-sharing service will no longer require a Mission Specialist (human supervisor) to keep tabs on these vehicles in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive with Volvo’s future SPA2 vehicle architecture.
Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars said that by the middle of the next decade, Volvo expects one-third of all cars it sells 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.”
“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. “Volvo has long been known for its commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of its newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle.”
Uber Eats drone delivery system begins pilot test runs
Uber also has another new venture under their food delivery division, Uber Eats which has just started testing a food delivery system by drones. The Uber Eats unit has initiated the first drone food deliver test runs in San Diego, California in collaboration with McDonalds. The company is working on expanding to other restaurants later this year. Uber claims that should the delivery system shift to drones, it would decrease food delivery times. In 2018, Uber won the bid from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test food delivery by air n the city of San Diego.
The process works like this: The restaurant employee loads the meal into the drone. The drone then takes off and begins its flight towards its destination. Its entire flight path is tracked and guided by a new aerospace management system. The drone then meets an Uber Eats driver at a drop off location and the driver will hand-deliver the meal to the customer. In the future, Uber wants the drone to land on top of the parked vehicle and secure itself for the final mile of the delivery.
Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate said that they have been working closely with the FAA to ensure that all safety measures are in place and all requirements are met. The company also plans to use the data gathered from this pilot run for its future aerial ride-sharing network.