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California DMV Wants Uber to Stop Autonomous Ride-Share Venture

Company officials say they don’t need permit.

by on Dec.15, 2016

Uber could be facing a legal storm over its decision not to get the permit California requires.

Ride-sharing service Uber has been ordered by California regulators to halt the public test of autonomous vehicles until the company gets what the state claims is the necessary permit.

Uber on Wednesday began offering rides in San Francisco using specially modified versions of the Volvo XC90 SUV. Though nearly two dozen other companies have so far received permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Uber officials said they are not required to get one. DMV officials have vociferously disagreed and have sent a warning to the company.

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“If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action,” DMV attorney Brian Soublet wrote in a letter to Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber’s autonomous car programs.

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Uber, Volvo Launch Autonomous Ride-Share Test in San Francisco

But pilot project is operating without a state permit, could face legal issues.

by on Dec.14, 2016

One of 11 autonomous Uber Volvo XC90s climbs a steep San Francisco hill.

Uber is expanding its autonomous vehicle pilot program to San Francisco – though the move could run afoul of California regulators since the ride-sharing service has decided not to seek a permit for the project.

Today’s launch comes three months after Uber began testing self-driving vehicles in its hometown of Pittsburgh. The company has said that it eventually wants to jump past autonomous cars and put a fleet of fully driverless vehicles on the road, something it says would lower the cost of a ride to the point where hailing an Uber would be cheaper than the cost of owning a vehicle.

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“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president of product planning at Volvo Cars, which is providing the vehicles being used for the San Francisco pilot. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners at Uber.”

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Volvo Cars Selling Second Bond Offering

Maker seeks $325 million in Swedish market.

by on Dec.02, 2016

Volvo CEO Lex Kerssemakers said the automaker is looking to continue its growth that it has enjoyed in 2016. The latest bond sale from the maker will help.

Volvo Cars raised SEK3bn, the equivalent of $325.4 million, from its first Swedish bond issue, which will be used to improve the company’s financial flexibility and diversify its funding sources.

The bond issue follows its successful introduction to the global corporate bond market earlier this year when it raised $560 million in euro bonds.

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“As a global company with Sweden as its home market, this step into the Swedish market is a natural one for us to make and enables us to broaden the investor base and fund in our local currency,” said Hans Oscarsson, Chief Financial Officer. (more…)

Volvo Engaging in Concierge Service Trial

Program kicking off in San Francisco area.

by on Nov.18, 2016

Some owners of the new XC90 will get to try out the maker's new Volvo Concierge Services program.

Volvo is escalating efforts to impress luxury customers with a new connected-car technology app from Volvo Cars that could end the need for users to travel to the gas station, for a car wash or for other types of services such as moving the car from one spot to another.

A pilot concierge program is scheduled to roll out this November in the San Francisco Bay area. It will soon ramp up to allow 300 invited drivers of new Volvo XC90 SUVs and S90 luxury sedans to order services such as remote fuel delivery, valet car cleaning and Volvo maintenance.

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“Volvo Concierge Services will mean that you never have to stand out in the rain to fill your car again,” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Car USA. “At Volvo Cars our mission is to make life less complicated, and this is a great example of how in-car technology can be used to deliver this,” he added. (more…)

Volvo, Geely Lay Out Global Export Strategy

Stretched version of new S90 next on export docket.

by on Nov.02, 2016

Volvo and Geely are kicking off an ambitious plan to export more Chinese-built vehicles to the U.S., starting with the S90 built at its Daqing plant.

Volvo Cars and Chinese parent Geely plan to set in motion an aggressive expansion and export plan that could be the first in a wave of new, Chinese-made vehicles earmarked for the U.S. and Europe.

Their strategy is loosely modeled after the multi-brand approach of German giant Volkswagen AG, and will see the creation of a new entry-level brand, Lynk & Co. to anchor Geely’s global ambitions. Volvo is already importing a small number of stretched S60 sedans to the U.S., and will soon add a longer version of its top-line S90. Cars built by other Geely brands are set to follow.

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“We have a strong manufacturing structure in China and we are geared up for further growth,” Hakan Samuelsson, the CEO of Volvo told reporters during a Shanghai news conference. (more…)

Volvo Teams Up with Autoliv on Autonomous Vehicle Venture

by on Sep.06, 2016

Jan Carlson, chairman, CEO of Autoliv with Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

Volvo Car Group has turned to Swedish-based supplier Autoliv to help speed up its autonomous vehicle program.

The as yet-unnamed venture, which will be based near Volvo’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, will focus on an array of new driver assistance and fully self-driving vehicle technologies. The move follows a series of similar steps by automotive rivals hoping to rev up their own autonomous vehicle projects.

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“By combining our know-how and resources we will create a world leader in AD software development. This means we can introduce this exciting technology to our customers faster,” said Volvo Cars Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson.

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Volvo Tailors City Safety System for Rural Roads

System now helps drivers avoid large animals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

Volvo adapted its City Safety collision mitigation system to avoid large animals instead of cyclists.

There are more than 1.2 million accidents every year involving vehicles and large animals, such as deer or elk, that result in the deaths of about 200 motorists and cause some $1 billion worth of damage, according to insurance industry statistics.

Now Volvo is attempting to reduce the number of these types of collisions by equipping its latest vehicles, including the new 2017 Volvo S90, with a “large animal” detection system that will apply the vehicle’s brakes if it senses anything from a fleet-footed deer to a lumbering bear in the roadway.

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The system is described as an industry first and addresses a growing problem in many parts of the country, such as the heavily-wooded Northeast, where wildlife has proliferated in suburban and urban areas. (more…)

Bigger Isn’t Better When it Comes to Uber Profits

Report estimates leading ride-share service lost $1.3 billion.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A subscriber orders a car through the Uber app.

It may be the nation’s leading ride-sharing service, but that hasn’t helped Uber deliver a profit.

The Silicon Valley start-up lost a hefty $1.3 billion during the first half of the year, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service which cited sources with access to a conference call the company had with its investors.

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According to the report, Uber finance chief revealed that the ride-sharing service went $520 million into the red during the first quarter of the year, with another $750 million loss racked up during the April-June quarter.

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Uber, Volvo Team Up for Free Autonomous Rides

Companies kicking off program in Pittsburgh.

by on Aug.18, 2016

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars for Pittsburgh.

If you’re looking for a ride home from an early season Pittsburgh Steelers game and looking for a new experience, try using Uber. Not the regular Uber, but the self-driving Uber, and for while, it’ll be free.

That’s right, starting this fall, Uber is allowing its users to call for rides in autonomous vehicles. The program, which will be limited to Pittsburgh, features Volvo XC90s that have humans behind the wheel … they just don’t use it.

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The specially outfitted Volvo sport utes are laden with sensors, cameras, radar and GPS receivers to help the vehicle navigate the streets of the Steel City. While there are currently just a few of the vehicles roaming the streets there are scheduled to be 100 by the end of this year, according to reports. (more…)

Scoring With First Plug-in, Volvo Looking at More Battery-Car Options

Early demand for XC90 PHEV hits 20%, double initial plan.

by on Jun.09, 2016

The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine is selling at a higher rate than expected by company executives: 20%..

Despite generally sluggish demand for battery-electric vehicles, Volvo Cars has a surprise hit on its hands with its first plug-in hybrid model, according to the Swedish automaker’s global R&D chief.

About 20% of the buyers of its new XC90 are opting for the so-called Twin Engine version of the sport-utility vehicle, more than double the company’s original expectations. The plug-in powertrain will next be offered in the S90 sedan and V90 wagons that share platforms with the SUV. And the strong response is encouraging Volvo to look at still more electrification options, said research chief Peter Mertens, during an interview.

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Among other things, Volvo is readying its first full battery-electric model for 2019, with others soon to follow. And Mertens revealed the carmaker, now owned by China’s Geely, is looking closely at new lithium-ion battery technology that could allow a motorist to get a full charge in about the same time it takes to fill up a gas tank. (more…)