The highly-anticipated deliveries of the Volvo EX90 have been regrettably delayed by six months, leaving eager customers who placed orders in late 2022 in a state of anticipation. The Swedish automaker attributes the delay to challenges related to the integration of LiDAR sensors on its groundbreaking electric SUV.
Initially, the first deliveries were expected in the third quarter of 2023. However, future Volvo EX90 owners are growing increasingly impatient as they await the revised schedule. Recently, Volvo disclosed that the setback is due to the “complexity of the LiDAR system software.” While the EX90 is not the first production car to incorporate LiDAR, it marks Volvo’s maiden venture into this cutting-edge technology.
The EX90 is poised to become a safety powerhouse. Volvo’s CEO, Jim Rowan, emphasizes, “We are developing a significant portion of the software ourselves. As the usage of LiDAR is a first for Volvo, we want to ensure flawless functionality.” The LiDAR system for the EX90 is developed by the start-up Luminar Technologies, a leading company specializing in sensors for autonomous driving. The system is an integral part of the EX90’s comprehensive surveillance setup.
Volvo’s forthcoming all-electric SUV features a plethora of radars and ultrasonic sensors, enabling it to detect pedestrians up to 250 meters away. The automaker has invested heavily in the EX90’s design, particularly in terms of safety features. Luminar Technologies also provides Volvo with the Sentinel software, which will be integrated into the EX90’s onboard technologies.
Volvo’s CEO estimates that “LiDAR can significantly impact safety. Our research indicates that incorporating such a sensor in a vehicle can reduce severe accidents by 20%, and overall collision avoidance can improve by 9%.” Several production vehicles already utilize similar technologies, including the NIO ES7. Additionally, the ID.Buzz has also announced plans to incorporate LiDAR sensors by 2025.
Despite the announced delay, Anders Gustafsson, former head of Volvo in the United States, expects the EX90 to become the brand’s best-selling vehicle in the American market. Volvo intends to manufacture the EX90 at its Ridgeville plant in South Carolina. The integration of LiDAR sensors has also impacted the production timeline of the EX90’s counterpart, the Polestar 3, which may not commence production before 2024.
With the LiDAR sensor, Volvo aims to make the EX90 nearly autonomous. The model will be equipped with Google’s HD Maps, a longstanding partner of Volvo, which provides up-to-date information on infrastructure, roadways, and locations. The electric SUV also features NVIDIA’s Xavier and Orin artificial intelligence and Zenseact’s security software.
When it hits the roads, the EX90 will perfectly embody Volvo’s ultimate ambition: “zero deaths and severe injuries in Volvo cars.” Built on Geely’s SPA2 platform, the EX90 will come in two versions, with power outputs of 408 or 517 hp and a starting price of €107,900. This is a significant leap from the more accessible pricing of the smaller EX30 SUV.
LiDAR sensors are a revolutionary technology for the automotive industry, playing a crucial role in the widespread adoption of autonomous driving. An increasing number of production vehicles are now equipped with this advanced safety system, and it marks a significant step forward. LiDAR is an exceptionally powerful sensor, capable of “seeing what the human eye, camera, or radar cannot.” In essence, it constructs a 3D image of the vehicle’s real environment, which is then analyzed by sophisticated algorithms to identify all present objects and their speeds. LiDAR sensors can predict the trajectory and behavior of these objects, providing an enormous safety benefit for a vehicle. For Volvo, whose mission is to minimize accidents, the integration of such sensors was an obvious choice.