Volvo Cars will supply XC90 SUVs to DiDi Autonomous Driving, the subsidiary of Chinese company Didi Chuxing dedicated to developing autonomous driving technologies.
The Swedish automaker issued a statement last week revealing that the XC90s will be equipped with backup systems needed to control functions such as steering and braking.
As part of the partnership between the two companies, Volvo will also collaborate on integrating DiDi's additional software and hardware, which are essential to make the vehicles compatible with autonomous driving.
In 2020, Volvo supplied the Chinese firm with XC60 SUVs for a robotaxi pilot project conducted in Shanghai. For this new pilot project, the XC90s (of which a few hundred units will be provided) will be the first vehicles to receive a new autonomous-drive platform called Gemini. They will be used in China in a network of chauffeured cars operated by DiDi.
The Sino-Swedish agreement aims to strengthen Volvo Cars' position as a vehicle supplier and partner to companies wishing to operate autonomous vehicle fleets.
In addition, by combining the XC90's safety features and other driver assistance systems with DiDi's autonomous driving system, the two partners plan to ultimately employ these vehicles in a commercial robotaxi service - without a driver on board - in China, but also in the United States.
Volvo Cars became a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Zhejiang Geely in 2010.