Volvo Teams with DiDi in Robo-Taxi Push

Volvo is ramping up its drive into the robo-taxi market by teaming up with DiDi Autonomous Driving for services in the US and China.

The automaker has signed signed a strategic collaboration agreement on autonomous technology, with the self-driving technology arm of Didi Chuxing, for DiDi’s self-driving test fleet. Just as it had with the fatal driverless pilot with Uber in the US, Volvo will provide XC90 cars equipped with backup systems for functions such as steering and braking, and collaborate with DiDi Autonomous Driving to integrate the additional software and hardware required to make it fully ready for autonomous drive. Hopefully, these back-up systems will not get turned off this time.

The cars will be the first to integrate the new DiDi Gemini self-driving hardware platform and are intended to be deployed for ride-hailing in DiDi’s future network. The companies say they intend to build a long-term partnership as DiDi continues to expand its autonomous test fleets across China and the US on the way to creating commercial robo-taxi operations. In 2020, Volvo provided DiDi with Volvo XC60s for use in Shanghai’s first pilot robo-taxi program.

Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s chief executive, said: “This strategic collaboration with DiDi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies. Combining DiDi’s expanding robo-taxi program with our safe cars creates a great match to build trust among consumers for autonomous ride-hailing.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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