November 01, 2018
Volvo Cars and Baidu team up to develop autonomous cars
Autonomous drive is one of Volvo Cars’ key growth areas in the coming years – together with electrification, connected services and new direct consumer relationships, autonomy will be instrumental for us to reach our medium term ambitions as a company. By the middle of next decade, we expect one-third of all cars we sell globally to be fully autonomous. Mobility companies will be an important factor in reaching that number.
So today’s agreement with Baidu is good news. Known as China’s largest internet search company, Baidu has also been developing autonomous driving technology for years. Recognizing the link between autonomy and safety, Baidu deliberately picked Volvo Cars as a development partner because of our safety credentials.
State of the art
We will work together with Baidu on the development of state-of-the-art, fully autonomous-compatible cars, pooling our respective resources and expertise. The aim is for Volvo to then mass produce and supply these cars for the Chinese market. In line with our electrification strategy, the cars will also be fully electric.
This being China, the potential of the market is huge. Market research companies like McKinsey and IHS Markit predict that China will become the single largest market for autonomous cars in coming decades, as it already is now for regular cars. By 2040, IHS Markit thinks* that almost 15 million autonomous cars will be sold in China each year. Globally, that number is expected to exceed 33 million.
Our CEO Håkan Samuelsson is of course pleased with today’s announcement. “With Baidu we take a big step forward towards commercialising our autonomous compatible cars, built on Volvo’s industry-leading safety technology,” he said. “There is a strong development in autonomous drive in China and the market there offers huge opportunities for us as the supplier of choice for autonomous fleets.”
Long term ambitions
In the coming years, Volvo Cars wants to capitalise on and lead the disruption currently underway in the industry. This aim is reflected in a new set of longer term ambitions that we announced earlier this year, which focus on establishing a leading position in electrification, autonomous drive and new models of car ownership and access.
The Baidu agreement serves as a further proof point for our autonomous driving ambitions. We aim to become a global and diversified mobility service provider and see autonomous drive as a key growth area as part of this strategy. By the middle of the next decade we expect to generate one third of all annual sales from autonomous cars.
*Autonomous Vehicle Sales Forecast 2018, IHS Markit