One of Uber’s self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs has been spotted out in the wild. A tipster in Pittsburgh sent us this image, as well as the video below, that confirms that Uber is in the process of testing out the newest member of its self-driving vehicle fleet. The Volvo was spotted on Morewood Street, in front of the Carnegie Mellon campus around 5PM on Monday, the tipster said.
As of last month, Uber said its self-driving Volvos were still under development, so this would mark one of the first times that the vehicle was spotted in public. It’s unclear whether they are being used to pick up and drop off passengers. We’ve reached out to Uber for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
Uber’s small fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions having been shepherding a select number of passengers around Pittsburgh since early September, but so far Uber has declined to discuss the progress. The cars are hard to miss: they have “Uber” stenciled on the sides and an array of cameras and sensors on the roof like a jaunty hat. There have been a couple of fender benders, and an instance of one vehicle driving the wrong way on a one-way street. No injuries have been reported involving any of Uber’s self-driving Ford Fusions.
Uber inked a deal with Volvo in August to purchase 100 cars by the end of the year, with the goal of outfitting them with the ride-hail company’s autonomous hardware. The cars are built on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture, the same platform as its XC90, S90, and V90 cars.
Volvo has long been known for its fanatical focus on safety and it’s possible that Uber is hoping some of that will rub off on its autonomous vehicle project. That said, Volvo’s DriveMe technology, which will enter public trials next year in Sweden, the US, the UK, and China, won’t be used by Uber. Volvo is providing the vehicle infrastructure, but Uber is ultimately responsible for the functionality and safety of its autonomous driving technology.