Volvo and Autoliv announce new autonomous driving software company

The new company is expected to provide advanced driver assistance systems by 2019 and highly autonomous drive software by 2021.
Written by Kelly McSweeney, Contributor

Image: Volvo

Volvo is sticking by its over-the-top claim that by 2020 nobody will be killed or injured in a new Volvo. This vision, first announced in 2012, is now halfway to the self-imposed deadline, Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars, has reaffirmed it during a press conference Tuesday.

Volvo, together with automotive safety systems provider Autoliv Inc., announced plans to launch a jointly owned company to develop autonomous driving software. Samuelsson said, "This is very crucial for Volvo to meet our vision for the future." He continued, reiterating that "by 2020 nobody should be killed or seriously injured by Volvo".


Jan Carlson, chairman, chief executive and president of Autoliv with Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. Image: Volvo/Autoliv

In recent years, Volvo's representatives have been clear that the newer focus on autonomous features is right in line with the company's well-established reputation for safety. Clearly, Volvo is committed to becoming a leader in the burgeoning self-driving car movement. Several fleets of Volvos are already driving themselves in Sweden, China, and Pittsburgh, Pa., with London coming next. Earlier this year, a Volvo executive described Tesla's autopilot as "wannabe" technology.

The new company, which has not been named yet, will be headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, with additional operations in Germany and Michigan. It is expected to start with 200 engineers in 2017, and then it'll ramp up to approximately 600 employees over the next two years. Engineers will develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems. The software will, of course, be used in Volvo cars, but Autoliv will also sell it to other OEMs. The new company is equally owned and revenues will be shared by both Volvo and Autoliv.

During the press conference, Jan Carlson, chairman, chief executive and president of Autoliv, said, "We expect that by 2021 we will have the first generation of highly autonomous drive software ready going to market." This software would be for full self-driving Level 4 vehicles, which the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as being designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip.

Carlson summarized the announcement: "This combination is a great opportunity for us together to be able to save more lives in the automotive industry and for the next step towards highly autonomous drive."

Editorial standards