Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing partners with Volvo

Volvo will provide XC90 SUVs to DiDi to be modified and used as test vehicles.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2020 Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD

Expect to see XC90s modified with self-driving test hardware cruising around China and the US soon.

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DiDi Chuxing -- aka the Uber of China (no, literally, it bought Uber China) -- is partnering with Volvo to develop self-driving cars for a planned future robotaxi fleet. Volvo will be providing DiDi with a fleet of XC90s and working with the ride-hailing company to integrate a self-driving car system that DiDi calls Gemini, according to an announcement released on Sunday.

Of course, this isn't Volvo's first rodeo when it comes to providing XC90s to companies looking for self-driving development test mules, with its most notable previous client being Uber. That situation ended tragically, but so far, we haven't heard of any incidents with DiDi and its testing to date in China and the US, which is good. In fact, DiDi has already worked with Volvo using XC60s in a 2020 robotaxi pilot program in Shanghai.

The DiDi XC90s will initially be deployed with human safety drivers behind the wheel, but the company has the goal of quickly moving into fully driverless testing, similar to what we've seen from companies like Waymo and Cruise.

"This strategic collaboration with DiDi Autonomous Driving is further validation of our ambition to be the partner of choice to the world's leading ride-hailing companies," Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars CEO, said in a statement. "Combining DiDi's expanding robotaxi program with our safe cars creates a great match to build trust among consumers for autonomous ride-hailing."

Neither Volvo nor DiDi Chuxing gave a specific timeline for when the self-driving XC90s would hit the streets.

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