Uber prepares to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, marking the shift of the United States firm from an app known for summoning a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of vehicles.
The non-binding framework deal might provide San Francisco-based Uber a way to conquer setbacks at its autonomous driving department in Silicon Valley’s race to self-driving systems better.
Integrating Volvo’s vehicles with Uber’s self-driving system builds on their almost three-year relationship and comes as Uber’s autonomous driving unit has been affected by a lawsuit over trade secrets and the departure of top talent.
Automakers, ride-hailing companies and tech startups have been creating loose alliances in an effort to develop self-driving technology and claim a piece of exactly what is anticipated to be a multi-billion-dollar organisation.
Geely-owned Volvo stated on Monday it would supply Uber with its flagship XC90 SUVs geared up autonomous technology as part of a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021. A Volvo spokesperson stated it concealed to 24,000 vehicles.
The self-driving unit that would be used in the Volvo vehicles – which have yet to be developed – is under development by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
If Uber buy all 24,000 cars, it would be Volvo’s largest order by far and the greatest sale in the autonomous vehicle market, giving Uber, which is losing over $600 million a quarter, its first commercial fleet of vehicles.
A brand-new Volvo XC90 normally retails from a starting cost of around $50,000.
Uber has been testing prototype Volvo automobiles for more than a year, with safety motorists in the front seat to step in if the self-driving system fails, in Tempe, Arizona and Pittsburgh. “Our goal was from the first day to make investments into an automobile that could be made at scale,” stated Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of vehicle alliances.
The cars in theory, would be available through the Uber app to get passengers without a motorist.