Why Uber And Volvo Is The Perfect Match

Posted on August 23, 2016

In the wake of the recent social media storm, you probably know that Uber is launching its driverless fleet in Pittsburg by now…

Pittsburg was chosen because many of the leading experts in autonomous robots are from the local university, Carnegie Mellon (CMU). In fact, Uber has been heavily recruiting engineers from CMU to work on the audacious vision of replacing more than one million human drivers for quite a while.

… But why is Volvo their partner?

When I heard the news, I was expecting an innovative automaker such as Tesla or someone with large market dominance like General Motors. Volvo was hardly top of mind. However, once I started to think about the different associations of individual car brands it started to make sense. Allow me to explain.

Lamborghini owns the association of raw motor power.

Tesla owns the association of futuristic.

What about Volvo?

Most people associate Volvo with safety. This association has been nurtured since the beginning days of the company. Volvo’s founders, Assar and Gustav, famously said the following back in 1927:

Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety

This mantra has been honored past the time of the founders. For instance it was a Volvo engineer, who was behind the invention of the modern three-point safety belt. Even though Volvo owned the patent, the company decided to make the patent available for free to other manufactures to help improve safety for as many as possible.

… So how does all this relate to Uber?

The primary challenge 0f autonomous driving is to gain trust in the public eye. In other words, will the population be convinced that the technology is safe enough in the chaotic and sometime unpredictable traffic environment.

Maybe you remember the traffic accident of a Tesla, that allegedly was operated by its autopilot. The incident was on the news all over the world and lead reporters to ask: “Should we trust algorithms for driving”. With that in mind, it’s clear why Uber wanted to partner with Volvo. No other auto brand is known for safety and reliability like the Swedish auto brand.

The test will be the first step in establishing trust with consumers and regulators. Personally, I think that the only thing, which we can predict today, is that autonomous cars will be a social media hit in Pittsburgh for some time! Aside from that, it’s tough to say how this bold move will shape the future of transportation. For more information, I recommend this video by Bloomberg below.

 

100 of Uber’s modified Volvo XC90 vehicle will hit the streets soon