A couple months apparently goes a long way in changing Volvo’s mind when it comes to autonomous cars. Back in July, CEO Håkan Samuelsson made clear his company’s position on driverless technology, noting that Volvo had “no interest in manufacturing or selling fully autonomous cars with no driver involvement.” But now, the Sweden-based firm is partnering with Autoliv Inc. “to set up a new jointly owned company to develop next generation autonomous driving software.” So maybe some things can change.
As the two companies noted in a joint release on Tuesday, the new venture will be headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and will begin its operations in 2017. The plan is for the yet-to-be-named company to “develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally.” As self-driving cars continue to trend across both automotive and technology companies’ road maps, Volvo and Autoliv are hoping to make their mark on the safety of this next-generation technology.
“By combining our know how and resources we will create a world leader in AD software development,” said Samuelsson, highlighting Volvo’s reputation for making safe, dependable vehicles (the company actually invented the three-point safety belt). “This means we can introduce this exciting technology to our customers faster.”
Jan Carlson, chairman, chief executive and president of Autoliv, echoed these sentiments, noting, “There are no two companies that can claim to have done more for automotive safety worldwide than Autoliv and Volvo. This new company is a recognition of the fact that autonomous driving is the next step to transform road safety.”
Volvo previously announced a partnership with Uber to develop autonomous cars, and has also previously announced the launch of self-driving pilot projects in a number of cities across the world, including Pittsburgh, London, and China.