Uber to buy thousands of Volvo cars for self-driving flee
21 November, 2017, 01:15 | Author: Barbara Daniel
Volvo - which is owned by China's Geely and has yet to build a self-driving system - said in a statement that it would supply Uber with "autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021".
Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Waymo, left the company in January 2016 to found self-driving start-up Otto, which Uber swiftly purchased in July previous year for $700m (£558m).
The new XC90s that Uber is sourcing from Volvo will be more advanced in their self-driving abilities compared to the existing test cars.
For automakers, news of Uber buying vehicles at a commercial level means potential new sales, but also looming disruption to a business model that sees cars largely sold to private owners. On top of all that, Uber is now being sued by Waymo, Google's self-driving auto company, for allegedly stealing the underlying technology for its vehicles, and this case is about to go to trial soon.
She said the new agreement puts Uber on the path toward rolling out mass-produced autonomous cars at scale. "[This] agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction". It has been working with Uber for almost three years to develop a base vehicle with core autonomous tech, which the ride-sharing company could then customize as it sees fit.
This is not Uber's first partnership with Volvo.
The agreement is part of automaker's mission "to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally", said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo's president and CEO.
Uber has already been testing autonomous vehicles in Arizona, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh.
Uber aims to eventually give driver-free passenger rides, which is the only way such a service would be economically feasible.
Uber is bolstering its driverless vehicle push in a major way. Among those that have agreed to test autonomous vehicles on Lyft's platform are Delphi Automotive's NuTonomy, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo.
Many other brands of autonomous vehicles are planning o land their driverless cars on road.
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