(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- Automobile manufacturer Volvo Cars said that it has signed a cooperation framework agreement with the car sharing platform operator Uber Technologies Inc. to sell it tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles from 2019 to 2021.
The agreement will further enhance the partnership between Volvo and Uber announced in August last year and marks a new phase in the convergence of car makers and Silicon Valley-based technology firms, Volvo said.
"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption," said Volvo Cars President and Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson. "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for [autonomous driving] ride-sharing service providers globally. Today's agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction."
The deal covers vehicles made with Volvo Cars' fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world and was used on Volvo Cars' 90 series cars and the new XC60 midsize sport utility vehicle.
Engineers from the two companies worked together to develop the XC90s that will be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles incorporate all the necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.
"We're thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo," said Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at Uber. "This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale."
While providing vehicles to Uber, Volvo will use the base models to speed up its own self-driving car strategy, which is planned to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous car in 2021.