Volvo Cars will provide vehicles for Chinese autonomous driving startup DiDi’s self-driving platform to create a fleet of automated cars for the domestic market.
Volvo will provide DiDi with XC90 cars equipped with backup systems for functions such as steering and braking that will be equipped with DiDi’s autonomous driving technology that will integrate software and hardware required for full self-driving capabilities. The XC90 cars will be the first to integrate the DiDi Gemini autonomous driving platform and are intended for deployment in an autonomous ride-hailing fleet.
The built-in backup systems and safety features in the XC90 combined with the self-driving system will eventually allow the cars to operate without safety drivers in robotaxis.
The companies said they look to build a long-term partnership as DiDi expands its fleet of self-driving cars across China and the U.S. and scales its robotaxi operations.
“In expanding partnerships with global automotive industry leaders, we believe shared, electric and autonomous vehicle networks will be crucial for future urban transport systems to achieve the highest safety and sustainability standards,” said Bob Zhang, CEO of DiDi Autonomous Driving and CTO of Didi Chuxing. “DiDi Gemini, our new self-driving hardware platform incorporates critical hardware improvements from our test passenger service operations in Shanghai.”
Previously, Volvo and DiDi worked together in the first Shanghai pilot robotaxi program using Volvo’s XC60 vehicles. Consumers in certain areas of Shanghai could book trips by robotaxi through DiDi’s app and be driven autonomously while monitored by a safety driver and engineer.
This collaboration is one of many robotaxi services that is cropping up in China as the country looks to expand next generation mobility and automated transportation services. Other robotaxi trials in China are being conducted by DeepRoute in Wuhan, Baidu in Guangzhou and AutoX in Shenzhen.