Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Volvo Cars, the Swedish premium car maker, and Uber, the world’s leading ride-sharing company, are to join forces to develop next generation autonomous driving cars.

The two companies have signed an agreement to establish a joint project that will develop new base vehicles that will be able to incorporate the latest developments in AD technologies, up to and including fully autonomous driverless cars. The base vehicles will be manufactured by Volvo Cars and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. Volvo Cars and Uber are contributing  a combined USD 300M to the project.

Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies. This will involve Uber adding its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle. Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of its own autonomous car strategy, which will involve fully autonomous driving.

The Volvo-Uber project marks a significant step in the automotive business with  a car manufacturer joining forces with a new Silicon Valley-based entrant to the car industry, underlining the way in which the global automotive industry is evolving in response to the advent of new technologies. The alliance marks the beginning of  what both companies view as a longer term industrial partnership.

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Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “Volvo is one of the most progressive and contemporary car makers in the world. It is a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous drive technology and possesses an unrivaled safety credibility. We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry.” 

The new base vehicle will be developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world and is currently used on Volvo Cars’ top-of-the-line multiple award winning XC90 SUV, as well as the S90 premium sedan and V90 premium estate. 

SPA has been developed as part of Volvo Cars’ USD11bn global industrial transformation programme, which started in 2010, and has been prepared from the outset for the latest autonomous drive technologies as well as next generation electrification and connectivity developments. It is these capabilities that attracted Uber to Volvo.

The development work will be conducted by Volvo Cars engineers and Uber engineers in close collaboration. This project will further add to the scalability of the SPA platform to include all needed safety, redundancy and new features required to have autonomous vehicles on the road.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said: “over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”


Volvo Cars goes from strength to strength as first V90 rolls off production line

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, started production of the new V90 premium estate at its manufacturing plant in Torslanda, Sweden this week.

The first customer-bound V90 rolled off the production line only weeks after the first S90 premium sedan was built. This means all new models in the top-of-the-line 90 series, based on Volvo’s in-house developed modular vehicle architecture SPA, are now being produced in Sweden.

The SPA-related investments in Sweden have had positive effects on employment at the company. Volvo has almost doubled its staff numbers at the Torslanda plant in the last two years, to a current total of around 6,300 employees. The company has also hired approximately one thousand engineers over that period, and continues to recruit in its R&D department.

Furthermore, so-called multiplier effects have created numerous new jobs at suppliers to the company and other businesses in the region, providing a boost to the automotive manufacturing cluster in Gothenburg and the wider economy in Western Sweden.

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“Taking the new V90 into production is an important milestone for Volvo,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “We have invested heavily in preparing the Torslanda plant for building SPA vehicles and it is encouraging to see the positive response to the new 90 cars. We are going from strength to strength, as our transformation plan continues to bear fruit.”

The three new 90 series cars are part of a USD 11 billion transformation program launched by Volvo in 2010. Over the next three years, Volvo will revamp its entire car range. The introduction of the new cars have resulted in significant sales and profitability growth at Volvo.

 

Helped by the new XC90, Volvo Cars in 2015 sold over 500,000 cars for the first time in the company’s 89-year history. Annual operating profit trebled to SEK 6.6bn, with a profit margin of 4 per cent.

 

For 2016, Volvo expects another record year in terms of sales, as the new S90 and V90 arrive in dealerships around the globe and XC90 has its first full year of production. In the first five months of 2016, Volvo Cars posted a 10.4 per cent increase in global sales, with growth in all major regions

Full-year revenue and operating income are also expected to improve further.

“While the new XC90, S90 and V90 have helped us rejuvenate the brand, Volvo’s transformation is far from complete,” said Mr Samuelsson. “Three years from now, the XC90 will be the oldest car on the showroom floor. In other words: the new 90 series are only the start of the new Volvo.”

Last month, Volvo officially launched its global small car strategy by revealing two concept cars based on its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Specially created for smaller cars, CMA will underpin the next generation of Volvo’s 40 series cars. The first new car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017. The next-generation cars in Volvo’s 60 series will be built on SPA.


VOLVO JUST GAVE TESLA THE MIDDLE FINGER: DRIVING THE NEW S90

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 2.03.58 PM

'm sitting in the driver's seat of the brand-new Volvo S90, somewhere along one of Southern Spain's finest roads. I'm driving, but just barely. The car is handling the throttle and brake, as well as most of the steering.

There are many reasons this car is mightily impressive and important: it's the first car to come with city- and highway-capable, self-steering autonomous technology as standard equipment. It's critical for Volvo, because it's the rebirth of the Swedish safety maven's flagship sedan. At a base price of $47,945 after destination charges, the company is using the S90 specifically to lure buyers and lessees away from its competition: the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E Class, Audi A6, and Cadillac CTS.

More subtly, it represents the hand of Volvo, very calmly and deliberately raising its proverbial middle finger squarely in the direction of Tesla, and what Volvo considers underdeveloped, irresponsible self-driving technology.

Read the rest here: https://www.thrillist.com/cars/nation/2017-volvo-s90-sedan-pilot-assist-test-drive


Volvo provides the first look at its new range of smaller cars

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, today unveiled two new concept cars that move the Swedish brand in an audacious new direction and mark the official launch of its global small car strategy.

Today’s newly-revealed 40 series concepts demonstrate for the first time how Volvo plans to expand into the large and lucrative global market for premium small cars with a range of vehicles that combine bold exterior and interior design with industry-leading connectivity, electrification and autonomous drive technologies.

The new concept cars will be the first built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which has been specially created for smaller cars and which has liberated the company’s designers and engineers to explore bold and daring new directions.

“Each member of our product family has its own distinct character, just like the members of a real family. CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. This is the flavour of small Volvos to come,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, at Volvo Car Group.

Volvo’s small car strategy is an essential element in its ongoing global operational and financial transformation. The Swedish company is currently implementing an ambitious revitalisation plan that will reposition the brand to compete with its global premium competitors within the next four years.

Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally.

“By taking a modular approach to both vehicle architecture and powertrain development we have succeeded in leap-frogging many of the players in the premium segment,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development. “Our new battery electric powertrain variant opens yet another exciting chapter in the unfolding Volvo story.”

On top of their daring exterior design and electrified powertrain options, the new cars will also offer a full range of innovative connectivity services, plus the world’s most advanced standard package of safety features and ground breaking Scandinavian interior desig 

“The new 40 series cars have the potential to improve our market penetration in an important growing segment,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “An electric powertrain program including both a new compact Twin Engine plug-in hybrid as well as a pure electric car are central to the CMA architecture.” He added that the first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017 

The announcement of Volvo’s new global small car strategy comes on the back of a strong start to the year in terms of sales and profitability.

The company announced revenues for the first three months of the year rose 24 per cent year-on-year to SEK41.7bn, generating an operating profit of SEK3.1bn and an operating profit margin of 7.5 per cent. Global sales for the first quarter of 2016 increased 11.9 per cent to 120, 591 cars. Volvo has a medium term ambition to sell 800,000 cars a year, up from 503,000 in 2015.


Our Idea Of Fun For The Kids

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Have you seen the friendly little Spider in the XC90’s third row storage compartments? What’s known as a “Design Easter Egg”is a hidden design detail that’s placed for a little humor and fun. This web was designed for strength of the storage lid and the little spider was added for fun for the kids in the third row.

 


Volvo XC60, V60 Win Over Northwestern Media

Rockleigh, NJ (April 18, 2016) The Volvo XC60 and Volvo V60 have been ranked favorites of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA). 

The 2016 XC60 T6 All-Wheel-Drive compact utility vehicle was voted best Premium Utility Vehicle, and the 2016 V60 Cross Country wagon voted best Premium Compact Utility Vehicle, at the NWAPA’s Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year Competition April 13-14 in Shelton, Washington. 

Representing global, national and regional outlets such as MSNAutos.com, The New York Times, The Portland Tribune and others, NWAPA journalists evaluated 28 vehicles from 20 brands in six categories across ten criteria including on- and off-road ride, handling and capability, design, technology, comfort, efficiency and value.

“That the XC60 and V60 beat such tough competition is a testament to the incredible engineering that went into them,” said Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO, Volvo Car USA. “Volvo has always been and always will be about people. Building strong, capable, safe cars is something Volvo never intends to stop doing.”

Nik Miles, president of the NWAPA, said, “After considerable evaluation, the automotive journalists of the Northwest clearly felt that both Volvo cars stood out as the best in their class.  This is not the first win for Volvo at Mudfest and we expect them to return to defend their titles next year.” 

“When evaluating the vehicles, our members really put them through the ringer,” said Ryan Douthit, event chair and producer of Driving Sports TV. “The fact that Volvo won not one but two classes is really quite impressive.” 

The XC60 T6 AWD is equipped with Volvo’s powerful and efficient Drive-E engine. The 2.0-liter turbo- and supercharged power plant provides a very healthy 305 horsepower and an EPA-rated 27 MPG highway. The XC60 comes standard with Volvo’s legendary safety technology, which includes City Safety low speed collision avoidance system, high strength steel safety cage, Whiplash Protection System (WIPS), and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Luxury is also standard, in the form of a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, leather upholstery, heated power outside mirrors, and more. Prices start at $43,350

The V60 Cross Country offers drivers a unique combination of size and functionality. With more than 2-inches additional ground clearance over the standard V60 and a unique appearance package, the all-wheel-drive wagon is available with Hill Decent Control, which automatically controls vehicle speed on slippery or sloppy downhills often encountered in the damp and forested Pacific Northwest. Prices start at $41,000.


Volvo Cars announces range of updates for model year 2017

Volvo Cars today announces a wide range of updates for model year 2017, including the introduction of its latest semi-autonomous drive technology, Pilot Assist II, as standard on the XC90 in selected markets.

The introduction of Pilot Assist II on XC90 is made possible thanks to the modular approach to car building enabled by Volvo’s new SPA architecture. Introduced first in the new S90 premium sedan, Pilot Assist II supports drivers up to speeds of 130 km/h in well-marked highway conditions. 

PowerPulse

The XC90 will also be available with PowerPulse on the D5 powertrain. PowerPulse technology delivers significant improvements in take-off performance thanks to Volvo’s ingenious use of compressed air to deliver an instantaneous response by spooling up the turbo.

City Safety updated

Volvo has also expanded its safety technology to cover one of the most common causes of single vehicle accidents with Run-off road mitigation, which uses auto-steer to help keep you on the road. Volvo’s standard collision avoidance system, City Safety, also receives an update with Large Animal Detection added on 90 Series cars.

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90 Series connectivity updates

Volvo’s in-car connectivity and driver interface system, Sensus, will receive several new native apps across the range for 2016, including Spotify and Park and Pay. Spotify, the highly popular music streaming service, provides constant access to an immense online library of your favourite music and utilises the familiar interface of Spotify’s smartphone applications in the car. Park and Pay provides Volvo owners with the ultimate convenience of finding and paying for parking when desired. 

Connected Service Booking, which allows workshop booking and reminders from the Sensus interface, will be added along with improved Internet Maps, TuneIn, Local Search and Yelp applications. Record & Send, a new voice recording app will also be added enabling drivers to make a voice note that they can send to themselves as reminders.

60 Series cars

The 60 Series cars will receive significant updates for 2016. Volvo’s award-winning four cylinder T5 petrol engine delivering 245 hp and 350 Nm of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, will now come with all-wheel drive on all 60 Series cars.

The S60 Cross Country will now be available with the D3 engine in relevant diesel markets. 

Two new wheels will be offered – a new 18” wheel for the S60/V60 and XC60 and a brand new 20” wheel for the XC60. These will be complemented by a new generation of 18”, 19” and 20” wheels for R-Design trim levels.

The 60 Series cars will also be offered with three new exterior colours.  Luminous Sand will be available on all 60 Series cars, while Mussel Blue will come on the XC60, S60, V60 and V60 Cross Country. Bursting Blue will be available for S60, V60 and XC60 R-Design variants. Passion Red is also being added for the V60 Cross Country model.

 

Updates across the range 

 

Volvo On Call

The Volvo On Call smartphone app, which allows remote access and control over a wide range of in-car features, receives a substantial update. Volvo On Call already delivers wearable connectivity (Apple Watch/Android Wear) and now Microsoft Band 2 connectivity, enabling voice-control for certain features when using Windows 10-based smartphones. 

Other updates to Volvo On Call include a calendar integration function that connects your personal calendar to the mobile app, allowing it to send calendar appointment destinations directly to your navigation on request. For 2016 Volvo On Call will broaden its scope and provide support for up to 10 Volvo vehicles, giving access to all the usual functions across a fleet of cars. 

Volvo will also introduce Flic button compatibility with Volvo On Call. Flic allows you to program a single physical ‘smart button’ to perform several tasks, such as lock your car or to start/stop pre-heating and can be used as a shortcut to Volvo On Call services. 

Volvo now also offers support for Windows 10 with a new version of the Volvo On Call application that can be used on regular PCs and tablets to interact with your car.

CleanZone technology

Volvo’s continuing leadership in interior air quality is highlighted across the product range from 2016 with the inclusion of the CleanZone logo on instrument panel air vents in the 60 and 40 Series cars, and a logo in the centre display of the 90 Series cars.

Volvo’s award-winning CleanZone technology ensures that outside air is effectively filtered before entering the cabin, removing harmful pollutants that are increasingly common in large urban areas. CleanZone technology reflects Volvo’s ongoing work to improve the in-car experience, covering incoming air, interior emissions and odours, interior surfaces and contact allergies.


Volvo's 'Drive Me' Project Intended to Make Self-Driving Cars Synonymous with Safety.

Volvo for a long time has been known for it's safety, and how they will go above and beyond to ensure so. Now, the automakers most recent efforts are changing history as they could make self-driving cars synonymous with safety. Volvo plans to use NVIDIA DRIVE as part of it's 'Drive Me' project. Learn more about the project here: https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/04/06/volvo-safety-self-driving/


The Volvo V60 Polestar becomes safest ever WTCC Safety Car

The Volvo V60 Polestar becomes the world’s safest safety car in a new long-term agreement with the FIA World Touring Car Championship, starting in the season-opening WTCC Race of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on April 1-3rd. 

The Volvo V60 Polestar Safety Car, specifically modified with mandatory safety equipment, and its crew, which consists of a driver and observer, will lead the WTCC field ahead of the races and will also follow the pack on the opening lap.

“It was an easy decision to start a cooperation with the WTCC on the Official Safety Car. This allows us to close the circle from track to road by showcasing customers the take-home alternative of our racing car technology in the form of the Volvo V60 Polestar Safety Car, at the same time being part of the vital and extensive safety work of the championship,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.

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The Volvo V60 Polestar Safety Car is equipped with a roll cage, rescue and communication equipment in order to meet the rigorous technical and safety requirements set by the FIA and WTCC promoter Eurosport Events. 

“Last October we welcomed Polestar’s long-term commitment to the WTCC as a manufacturer. Now we welcome Polestar as the new Official Safety Car partner of the WTCC, an exclusive opportunity which will allow them to promote their extremely safe and high-performing V60 Polestar flagship model around the world,” said François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events.

Developed from 20 years of motorsport experience, the Volvo V60 Polestar, awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, has been extensively engineered to deliver an engaging, precise and confident driving experience in all weathers with input from factory Polestar Cyan Racing drivers Thed Björk, Robert Dahlgren and Fredrik Ekblom.

Polestar, the performance brand of Volvo Cars, enters the FIA World Touring Car Championship this season with Cyan Racing, the motorsport partner to Polestar, in a multi-year programme with two newly developed Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 race cars, based on the Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar road cars.

The WTCC season consists of 12 race weekends on four continents across the world with manufacturers such as Citroën and Honda, in the fight for the prestigious World Title of touring car racing.