Volvo and Autoliv form autonomous driving JV

Volvo and automotive safety equipment manufacturer Autoliv are to set up a joint venture to develop autonomous driving software.

Volvo released a statement today saying that the new company will be based in Gothenburg, and will operate with a workforce of around 200 taken from both companies. It is hoped that the numbers will increase to around 600 in the medium term. It is currently planned that the new venture will begin operations at the beginning of next year.

Where many joint ventures are about developing components and software for one of the companies in the partnership, Volvo has said that its output will be for other automotive companies as well. The statement said the company will, “develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenues shared by both companies”.

The first ADAS products will be available for sale from 2019, with the AD technologies available by 2021.

Autoliv will be the exclusive supplier and distribution channel for third party sales of the software, but Volvo will source directly from the new company.

Dennis Nobelius, managing director of Volvo Switzerland and formerly vice president vehicle line 90 at Volvo Cars, will be the chief executive of the new joint venture.

Volvo and Autoliv already have a track record of collaboration on autonomous driving. About a year ago – on 30 September 2015 – the two companies announced that they would be working together on the Drive Me project.

Volvo described this as “the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving (AD) initiative”, Drive Me involves 100 self-driving Volvos being used by families and commuters on public roads in everyday driving conditions in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The Drive Me project was started in 2013 and the first families are expected to be on the roads of Gothenburg in 2017.