HomeAutonomous VehiclesUber and Volvo partner on self-driving cars

Uber and Volvo partner on self-driving cars

Volvo and Uber have entered a partnership to co-develop the next generation of self-driving cars, marking the start of a longer term industrial partnership.

While most automakers expect to have self-driving cars on the road by 2021, car-hailing service provider Uber is actually planning to let customers summon self-driving Volvo XC90s in Pittsburgh later this month. To start with, the cars will be supervised by Uber employees in the front seats. Uber made two other major announcements on Thursday, signaling – if need be – that the company means business when it comes to self-driving cars. To start with, Uber and Volvo announced a $300 million partnership on self-driving cars. The collaboration marks the beginning of a longer term industrial partnership, Volvo said.

The collaboration means both companies have agreed to establish a joint project to develop new base vehicles. These vehicles will include the latest developments in autonomous driving (AD) technologies, up to fully autonomous driverless cars. Uber will purchase the base vehicles produced by Volvo. The same base vehicle will be used by Uber and Volvo for the next stage of their respective autonomous car strategies. “Volvo is a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous drive technology and possesses an unrivaled safety credibility. We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, said: “Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”

Volvo Cars’ fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), currently used in the XC90 SUV, S90 premium sedan and V90 premium estate, will be used to develop the base vehicle. Volvo Cars engineers and Uber engineers will collaborate closely on the development.  “SPA … has been prepared from the outset for the latest autonomous drive technologies as well as next generation electrification and connectivity developments. It is these capabilities that attracted Uber to Volvo,” Volvo said.

Uber buys Otto

On that busy Thursday, Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick also announced Uber acquired self-driving tech start-up Otto. Otto’s co-founder Anthony Levandowski is to lead Uber’s and Ottos’ combined self-driving efforts. “If that sounds like a big deal—well, it is. More and more the world of atoms is interacting with bits. In order to provide digital services in the physical world, we must build sophisticated logistics, artificial intelligence and robotics systems that serve and elevate humanity,” he said. “Together, we now have one of the strongest autonomous engineering groups in the world; self-driving trucks and cars that are already on the road thanks to Otto and Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh; the practical experience that comes from running ridesharing and delivery services in hundreds of cities; with the data and intelligence that comes from doing 1.2 billion miles on the road every month.”

The Volvo-Uber partnership

Volvo’s partnership with Uber mirrors the shift the car market is going through, whereby a fair share of car ownership is expected to shift towards car-pooling and ride-hailing services. Volvo is one of many car manufacturers seeking partnership with ride-hailing companies. General Motors invested $500 million in Uber rival Lyft and Volkswagen $300 million in Gett earlier this year. Earlier this week, Ford announced the company was increasing its efforts within autonomous driving, intending to have a fully autonomous “in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service”.

Volvo can benefit from partnering with Uber in multiple ways, including sharing its development costs, selling a number of vehicles, gaining visibility for its self-driving car technology or even positioning itself outside of the traditional car market. Uber is also set to benefit from the partnership. It can among other things benefit from Volvo’s reputation within car safety and benefit from the automaker’s technological support and collaboration.

It is worth pointing out though that the agreement between Uber and Volvo is non-exclusive.

More than a technological shift, the future car market economy will require carmakers to adjust their business models and establish partnerships with new entrants such as ride-hailing services starting to build out their own vehicle fleet.

IIoT News Recap: BT and Nokia partner on 5G development; M1 deploys Singapore’s first commercial nationwide HetNet with Nokia; Asavie and Azeti partner on secure connectivity and remote asset management; 120,000 jobs in India impacted by IoT by 2021

self-driving cars

5G: BT and Nokia partner on 5G development

BT and Nokia have signed a research collaboration agreement on 5G technologies, whereby both companies will collaborate on potential customer use cases for 5G technologies, the creation of 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) trials and the development of the emerging technology standards and equipment, BT announced. Millimeter wave (mm wave) radio and convergence as well as mission-critical services and the IoT will be central to the trials. “We will build on that foundation to develop the next generation of LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G services over the next few years. It’s still early days for 5G technology, but experience tells us that a collaborative approach is key to success. We’re delighted to be working with Nokia to drive a common approach to 5G, and to develop exciting use cases which bring together our combined experience in fixed and mobile technologies,” said Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations. As part of the collaboration, Nokia is currently trialing a 5G radio system running on the vendor’s AirScale radio access, which also includes an entirely new 5G frame structure and as well as 4 x 100MHz carrier aggregation.

Road to 5G: M1 deploys Singapore’s first commercial nationwide HetNet with Nokia

Singapore-based operator M1 is rolling out the country’s first commercial heterogeneous network (HetNet) with Nokia. As part of the deployment, M1 is to roll out an overlay of integrated small cells and WiFi equipment across hundreds of high-traffic hotspots nationwide, which will complement its 4G+ network, the operator announced. “Our HetNet rollout will enable us to further enrich our customers’ lives. This HetNet deployment is also an integral part of our 5G network roadmap, the infrastructure on which we will build an ubiquitous on-demand, high-performance 5G service for our customers and that enables us to support our Smart Nation vision,” said Karen Kooi, CEO of M1.

IIoT: Asavie and Azeti partner on secure connectivity and remote asset management

Secure IoT connectivity platform provider Asavie is partnering with Azeti Networks, a specialist of remote asset management for the industrial IoT (IIoT). “By combining the Asavie PassBridge™ secure connectivity features with azeti’s remote asset management capabilities, the collaboration offers enterprises heightened control capabilities, improved predictive information and increased security of valuable assets,” Asavie said.

IoT: 120,000 jobs in India impacted by IoT by 2021

Consulting firm Zinnov expects  120,000 jobs in India to be impacted by IoT technology, Economic Times reports. The country is set to lose 69,000 jobs due to IoT adoption, while 25,000 new jobs will be created as a result of adoption. Lost jobs will be within administration, support and maintenance while created jobs will be within robot coordination, industrial programming and network engineering. Low-skilled jobs are set to be the ones to suffer the most from this technological shift. Considering the transformation power of IoT, this sounds like a relatively conservative estimate.

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