Like most other large vehicle manufacturers, Volvo is dead serious about producing commercially viable autonomous driving cars as quickly as possible. After signing a $300 million agreement with Uber on producing fully self-driving vehicles by 2021 and sending autonomous cars to London, the Swedish company has now made another huge statement of intent regarding this emerging technology. Earlier today, the Volvo Car Group and the Swedish-American safety company Autoliv announced a joint venture focused on developing autonomous driving software.
The new joint venture is yet to be officially named, but both Volvo and Autoliv confirmed that it will be based in Gothenburg, Sweden and will initially employ around 200 people, most of which will be relocated from the parent companies. If everything goes according to plan, Volvo and Autoliv are planning to relocate and employ 400 more specialists in the next couple of years. The new company will be exclusively focused on developing the so-called autonomous drive (AD) technology and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Apart from using that future technology in Volvo cars, the two companies are also planning on licensing it to other car manufacturers. The company which will embody this joint venture is expected to be officially named by fall and should start operations by the end of Q1 2017.
Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars stated that he believes this collaboration is Volvo's best chance to become a leading AD software developer in the world. Volvo's push in the autonomous driving industry is also expected to lead to the largest recruitment wave in the company's history as the Chinese-owned carmaker has already announced its plans to hire more than 400 engineers in the following months, all of which will be focused on developing new forms of self-driving technology. Autoliv's representatives have stated that the first fruits of this joint venture should already be commercially available by 2019 while they expect to launch their upcoming AD technology by 2021, just in time for Volvo and Uber's launch of the self-driving successor to the XC90 SUV. It remains to be seen whether Volvo will manage to bring something new to the autonomous driving table with the likes of Google, Ford, BMW, and numerous Chinese companies already pouring billions into development of this emerging technology.