Volvo will supply ride-sharing company Uber 24,000 Volvo XC90s with self-driving hardware from 2019 to 2021.
According to Volvo boss, Hakan Samuelsson, “The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption.” Rightfully so, as Volvo is one of the leaders in active safety systems in vehicles, such as being one of the first companies to offer automatic emergency braking in the industry. A feature that’s now starting to become commonplace in our cars. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD (autonomous driving) ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo”, said Uber’s head of auto alliances, Jeff Miller. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
Miller also said that the debut of these self-driving cars in the US will be “sooner than you think”, and his objective is to make the cars fit into Level 4 autonomy, and in order to do that, they need to modify the cars slightly in order to fit into Level 4 autonomy, such as embedding sensors and creating redundancies as back-up systems when something fails, in addition to the hardware you now see in the roof of the Volvo XC90.
What is Level 4 autonomy you might ask? Well, there are different levels on how the industry classifies a car’s self-driving capabilities. It ranges from Level 0 to Level 5 autonomy. Here’s an explanation of each level by The Drive, and what level do some cars sold in the Philippines fit in.
Level 0: No automation. This includes cars equipped with regular cruise control. The ability to maintain a speed that the driver sets is not autonomous. It’s still up to the drive to change speed if the car catches up to a slow-moving Prius hogging the left lane.
Examples of Level 0 Cars Sold In The Philippines: Basically everything that has/doesn’t have basic cruise control.
Level 1: Driver assistance required. Adaptive cruise control falls into this category. When you catch up to that left lane hog, the car will automatically slow down to match its speed with no intervention from you. Lane keeping assistance falls into this category as well, as the car will gently guide you back into your lane as you start to cross the line. At Level 1 the driver still needs to maintain full situational awareness and control of the vehicle.
Examples of Level 1 Cars Sold In The Philippines: 2018 Honda CR-V i-DTEC w/ Honda Sensing, 2018 Ford Everest Titanium 2.2/3.2 w/ Premium Pack, 2018 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS Premium, 2018 Ford Explorer Limited and Sport, 2018 Honda Pilot, 2018 Volvo XC90
Level 2: Partial automation options available. They will manage both your speed and your steering under certain conditions, such as highway driving. They will match your speed to the speed of traffic ahead of you and follow the curves in the road in ideal conditions. But the driver must still pay attention to driving conditions at all times and take over immediately if the conditions exceed the system’s limitations, of which there are many. Don’t buy the hype that these are fully self-driving cars. They can only drive themselves at certain times under certain conditions. The most famous Level 2 system due to countless YouTube videos is Tesla’s Autopilot.
Examples of Level 2 Cars Sold In The Philippines: 2018 Volvo S90 w/ Pilot Assist, 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class w/ DrivePilot
Level 3: Conditional Automation. Audi claims that the new 2019 Audi A8 is the first production car to achieve Level 3 autonomy. The car, rather than the driver, takes over actively monitoring the environment when the system is engaged. The Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot can take over the tedious job of creeping through highway traffic jams at speeds below 37 MPH. However, human drivers must be prepared to respond to a “request to intervene,” as SAE International calls it. In other words, once the conditions under which Level 3 autonomous driving is possible no longer exist, such as traffic clearing and speeds exceeding 37 miles per hour, the driver is required to take over. This is arguably the stickiest level of autonomy, since drivers will be called on to take over when they haven’t been paying attention to the road for a while.
Examples of Level 3 Cars Sold In The Philippines: No car sold globally currently passes, but Audi claims their new A8 with Audi AI is Level 3 autonomous.
Level 4: High automation. Self-driving cars will be able to handle most “dynamic driving tasks,” to use SAE International’s terminology. In other words, a Level 4 car can handle most normal driving tasks on its own, but will still require driver intervention from time to time, during poor weather conditions, for example, or other unusual environments. Level 4 cars will generally do the driving for you, but will still have a steering wheel and pedals for a human driver to take over when needed.
Examples of Level 4 Cars Sold In The Philippines: No car sold globally currently passes Level 4 autonomy.
Level 5: Full automation. Humans are nothing but cargo that tell the car where to take them. The car can drive itself anytime, anywhere, under any conditions. Any human intervention in the driving at all is not Level 5.
Examples of Level 5 Cars Sold In The Philippines: No car sold globally currently passes Level 4 autonomy.
Now that you know what each level of autonomy means, don’t expect to see them in Manila too soon, as these will debut in the US first.