Volvo will supply XC90 cars equipped with backup systems for steering and braking while also collaborating with the Chinese firm's technology arm DiDi Autonomous Driving on integrating the additional software and hardware for autonomous driving.
The XC90 cars will integrate the DiDi Gemini autonomous driving hardware platform.
The automaker says combining technologies from both companies will eventually allow the cars to operate without safety drivers in robotaxi services.
Volvo and DiDi Autonomous Driving are looking to build a long-term partnership as DiDi continues to expand its autonomous test fleets across China and the US and scales up its commercial robotaxi operations.
DiDi uses its resources in network operation and bank of real-world driving data to develop commercial autonomous transportation services by collaborating with car makers.
In 2020, Volvo provided DiDi with Volvo XC60s for use in Shanghai’s first pilot robotaxi programme. People in certain areas of Shanghai could book trips by robotaxi in the DiDi app and be driven autonomously, while the cars were monitored by a safety driver and engineer.
Bob Zhang, CEO of DiDi Autonomous Driving, says: “DiDi Gemini, our new self-driving hardware platform incorporates critical hardware improvements from our test passenger service operations in Shanghai.”