Source: Automotive IQ

 – April 3rd, 2018

 

In November 2017 Volvo CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, welcomed the company’s largest deal ever when it was awarded the contract to supply Uber Technologies Inc. with 24,000 vehicles for the ride-sharing giant’s robotaxi fleet.

Now, a mere four months later Zach Peterson, a spokesman for Aptiv Plc, the auto-parts maker that supplied the vehicle’s radar and cameras, has issued a statement distancing the company from any responsibility for the recent tragic accident in Tempe, Arizona involving one of Uber’s Volvos while in self-driving mode.

According to Peterson the Volvo XC90’s standard ADAS “has nothing to do” with the Uber test vehicle’s autonomous driving system: “We don’t want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case.”  Furthermore, Peterson claims Uber had disabled the standard collision-avoidance system.

Adding fuel to the fire, when Uber switched from its previous Ford Fusion test bed to the Volvo SUV the company reduced the number of lidars from seven to a single centrally mounted Velodyn unit. The earlier test cars also used seven radars and twenty cameras, while the newer Volvo test vehicles use ten radars and seven cameras.

By so doing Uber introduced a blind zone around the perimeter of the SUV that cannot fully detect pedestrians, according to interviews with former employees and Raj Rajkumar, the head of Carnegie Mellon University’s transportation center.