With autonomous driving technology fast approaching, automakers around the globe pouring in billions of dollars into making that dream a reality. Back in 2016, ride-hailing service Uber and Sweden’s auto giant Volvo Cars entered a joint engineering agreement. After conducting tests on several prototypes, the two companies have now finally unveiled the first production car that’s capable of fully driving on its own.

The new self-driving cars use the entry-level variants of the Swedish automaker’s XC90 SUV as their base platform. These are then equipped with fail-safe safety features from Volvo to ensure extra layers of redundancy. The next step involves Uber fitting the subject cars with their proprietary self-driving technology, which will eventually enable them to deploy these vehicles on their network as an autonomous ridesharing service in the near future

While previous-generation autonomous cars relied solely on one main source for their self-driving capabilities, a few next-generation platforms are developed to be as fail-safe as possible.

“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company. By the middle of the next decade we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies,” Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive Officer at Volvo Cars.

While previous-generation autonomous cars relied solely on one main source for their self-driving capabilities, a few next-generation platforms are developed to be as fail-safe as possible. Right from the factory, the new self-driving Volvo XC90s incorporate several redundancy measures for both steering and braking functions, as well as back-up power for the battery. If the on-board computer detects a failure in any one of these systems, the back-up system will be activated and bring the car to a safe stop.

Furthermore, Uber has installed its own suite of advanced autonomous driving systems to the XC90s. The vast network of sensors that are mounted on the roof and into the vehicle itself form an integral part of Uber’s self-driving software. When working in tandem with each other, the array of sensors and on-board computers will one day allow the vehicles to safely operate and manoeuvre in a typical urban environment. Volvo and Uber are working together to open up future possibilities where their self-driving fleet can deliver a safe and reliable form of autonomous transport.

Uber has installed its own suite of advanced autonomous driving systems to the XC90s. The vast network of sensors that are mounted on the roof and into the vehicle itself form an integral part of Uber’s self-driving software.

As of now, Uber needs a so-called “Mission Specialist” to monitor all aspects of their autonomous vehicles. For this purpose, the ride-hailing firm has a group of specially trained employees. The primary task of a Mission Specialist is to operate and oversee every aspect of the car’s autonomous performance, most of which are presently conducted in areas that are specifically designated and suitable for autonomous driving. The introduction of the next-generation self-driving XC90 is just a stepping stone for the two companies, as Volvo has agreed to produce and deliver tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in the coming years to Uber.

“We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company. By the middle of the next decade we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive Officer at Volvo Cars. The Swedish marque also has plans to roll-out its own future autonomous vehicles by early 2020s. Volvo’s own self-driving cars will be initially based on the company’s SPA2 vehicle architecture, and will incorporate features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous operation in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads. The company believes that fully-autonomous driving technology will significantly boost road safety, especially when every vehicle is operating without any human intervention.

Eric Meyhofer, Chief Executive Officer of Uber Advanced Technologies Group said, “Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet. Volvo has long been known for their commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of their newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber’s autonomous product suite.”