Volvo will supply vehicles for Didi’s autonomous car division

Volvo will supply automobiles for Didi Chuxing’s self-driving taxi fleet, according to a new deal concerning the two companies. The Swedish automaker, which is owned by China’s largest personal automaker Geely, will source XC90 SUVs to Didi Autonomous Driving, the self-driving technology division of China’s car or truck-for-employ the service of business.

Didi said it would use Volvo’s SUVs when it ultimately launches a commercial robotaxi operation at a later on day. The enterprise has been testing its autonomous technology in Shanghai since 2019 as section of a pilot authorised by the Chinese authorities.

It is an intriguing twist, taking into consideration Volvo applied to be a partner in yet another worldwide experience-hailing firm’s autonomous ambitions. Volvo had an settlement with Uber to deploy a fleet of self-driving taxis by 2019, but that system was scrapped after an Uber check car or truck (an XC90 SUV) struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in 2017.

Nevertheless, the Swedish automaker managed its partnership with Uber’s autonomous division, announcing a jointly produced self-driving edition of the Volvo XC90 SUV in 2019. Last calendar year, below strain from traders, Uber bought its autonomous division to self-driving startup Aurora.

Notably, Volvo states the vehicles it will be giving to Didi will be “equipped with essential backup programs for features these kinds of as steering and braking.” Individuals features, these types of as automatic crisis braking, have been disabled by Uber in the self-driving SUV that killed the pedestrian in Arizona in 2017.

Didi isn’t the only firm to use Volvo’s Swedish engineered automobiles as element of a robotaxi fleet. Waymo, the self-driving division of Alphabet, announced very last yr that it would be the “exclusive worldwide L4 partner” for Volvo and its sub-brands Polestar and Lynk & Co.

Volvo also has strategies to offer prospects partly automated motor vehicles geared up with LIDAR sensors created by US startup Luminar. The automaker mentioned its vehicles will be able to travel them selves on highways hands-absolutely free, with no human intervention, and will begin rolling off the generation line in 2022.

Didi started out its experience-hailing enterprise in China in 2012. It nabbed $1 billion from Apple in 2016, the very same time it was locked in an powerful competition with Uber for China’s quickly rising trip-hail market place and had started off poaching engineers from Silicon Valley to come function for its nascent self-driving plan.

At some point, the struggle grew too expensive for Uber, which was reportedly burning as a result of $1 billion a 12 months to compete with the Chinese company. In August 2016, then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick claimed he would sell Uber’s Chinese business to Didi for a 17.7 % stake in Didi and a seat on the company’s board. In exchange, Didi invested $1 billion in Uber.

Didi has also invested in many of Uber’s rivals, together with Lyft, India’s Ola, Singapore-headquartered Get, Estonia’s Taxify, Careem in the Middle East (which was later acquired by Uber), and Brazil’s 99. Didi expanded into Mexico in 2018, intensifying its international rivalry with Uber.