Volvo Cars announced this Monday, April 19, 2021 a long-term partnership with the Chinese VTC company Didi Chuxing. Volvo Cars will supply Didi Chuxing with XC90 vehicles which will integrate Didi Gemini, the autonomous driving platform developed by the Chinese company. The partners do not specify the number of vehicles affected by this partnership. They simply add that these autonomous vehicles will be deployed as part of the robot taxi network desired by Didi.
Steering and braking systems
This SUV was initially presented by Uber and Volvo Cars as a production vehicle suitable for autonomous driving, and since then Uber has sold its autonomous vehicle division to the start-up Aurora. The XC90, developed via Volvo’s modular SPA platform, is specifically designed to be easily fitted with the autonomous driving systems of a partner whether Uber or Didi and its Gemini system.
One of the strong points of this SUV is that it is equipped with emergency systems for the steering and braking functions which stop the vehicle in the event of failure of the primary systems. Volvo Cars and Didi just have to work together to best integrate the software and sensors necessary for the operation of the autonomous driving system desired by Didi.
Volvo Cars, a partner
For Volvo, this partnership confirms its positioning as a partner for companies developing autonomous driving systems. “This strategic collaboration with Didi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice for the largest VTC companies in the world”, said Håkan Samuelsson, chairman of the board of Volvo Cars, in a statement.
In 2020, Volvo Cars has already supplied XC60 vehicles to Didi for deployment of its robot taxi driver in Shanghai. Now, in certain areas of Shanghai, it is possible to book a ride aboard a robot taxi which is supervised by a security operator and an engineer.
The VTC company intends to continue deploying autonomous vehicle fleets, whether in China or the United States. Didi also wants to grow its commercial robot taxi operations and the company has great ambitions since it wants to operate more than a million autonomous vehicles on its platform by 2030.