Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s Volvo XC90 crossover will be outfitted with a side-door drive from Brose North America, an upgrade to existing automatic opening-and-closing door technology.
The application may herald a new technology for vehicles in the march to autonomous driving.
The XC90 is Volvo’s first autonomous drive-ready vehicle and will be in small-run prototype production for the self-driving car arm of Uber starting at the end of this year.
The side-door power drive unit is mounted to conventional structural-door interfaces and uses a flexible, modular design for easier integration into existing manufacturer designs.
The system incorporates a second motor to engage a clutch, with which the power system will electronically open and close the door. Passengers can also manually operate the door without sensing the difference or tension that existing automatic door systems have.
In addition to being a luxury comfort feature, the technology allows for the possibility to remotely or autonomously close the door for ride-share or shuttle use.
“One of the advantages is it makes the integration a lot easier, so manufacturers don’t have to design a completely different door for their autonomous vehicle,” said Arnd Herwig, Brose vice president of development. “If they base it on an existing one, they can carry over the same structure and just place a different part on that interface.”
The vehicles will not yet be operated on public roads but will be tested on Uber ATG’s test track in Pittsburgh.