Volvo to ‘mass produce’ self-driving cars for China
Swedish car maker, Volvo, announced on Thursday it joins the Chinese internet giant Baidu’s Apollo platform for the development and the future ‘mass production’ of self-driving cars for China.
Meanwhile, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Ford and Volkswagen are to join forces in the development of electric and autonomous cars too, saving billions on development.
According to London-based analytic information provider IHS Market, by 2040 an estimated 14,5 million of 33 million autonomous cars worldwide, will be sold in China. Volvo, owned by Chinese Geely, is determined to get its shere of the cake.
Third of annual sales
Volvo, saying in a press release aiming at ‘mass production’ in what’s believed to become the world’s biggest market for it, wants to make a third of its annual sales in self-driving cars by 2025. It also claims it is the first European car manufacturer to start a co-operation on this scale with the ‘Chinese Google’, Baidu.
Volvo will deliver cars and make its expertise on self-driving vehicles available to Baidu’s Apollo platform, one of the world’s leading programs in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology for self-driving cars. In the US, for instance, Volvo is working closely with Uber’s autonomous car program, for which it is to deliver 24.000 Volvo cars, as agreed in November 2017.
Baidu’s president, Ya-Qin Zhang, said Volvo was chosen as a preferred partner because of its “long-standing safety credentials”. In a press release he stated: “Since its founding a century ago, Volvo has kept safety as its core mission, pushing safety development forward with significant innovations”.
The ‘Chinese Google’ is not only working with Volvo on its Apollo platform, though, as it invited over hundred global partners to join to some extend. It attracted big names as BYD and Dongfeng in homeland China, software and chip makers, Microsoft, Intel, Nvidia and NXP, digital map maker, TomTom, but also Daimler, Ford, Hyundai, Continental and Honda in the automotive sector.
Ford and Volkwagen joining forces?
It’s getting rather complicated to keep track of who is working with who on the autonomous car of the future. After Honda announced beginning of October to invest 2,75 billion dollar in General Motor’s Cruise, German financial newspaper Handelsblatt writes on Thursday, Ford and Volkswagen are talking about a possible alliance on this domain too.
Goal is to reduce costs of development significantly. For the Volkswagen Group alone those costs are expected to be tens of billions of euros for the coming five years. Together Ford and VW could save billions. Handelsblatt says there’s no deal yet, but negotiations are ‘well advanced’. Ford and Volkswagen didn’t want to comment on the newspaper article.