Volvo, Autoliv to Set Up New ‘World-Leading’ Company Focused on Autonomous Driving

First Uber, now Autoliv

Volvo just launched a fleet of autonomous Volvo XC90 SUVs for Uber clients in Pittsburgh, but the Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker is only scratching the surface of self-driving cars potential.

Together with Autoliv, Volvo has agreed on entering a joint venture that would spawn a new brand focused on developing next generation autonomous driving software.

Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, the new business will kick off with a workforce in the region of 200 employees coming from both Volvo and Autoliv, but the ranks are set to increase to 600 employees in the medium term, with operations expected to start early 2017 and the first market-ready ADAS products scheduled to show up in 2019, followed by the AD systems and 2021.

The two companies haven't yet settled on a name for their offspring organization, but the business plan goes like this: it provide "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."

Back in 2014, Volvo tested a fleet of 100 self-driving vehicles on public roads around the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Each car could handle lane following, speed adjustment and merging traffic.

Could this mean that the automobile industry is about to get the Swedish counterpart of Tesla's Autopilot? It's too early to tell, but a little competition might be exactly the right ingredient to kickstart the self-driving car trend.