Uber makes self-driving vehicle deal with Volvo

Lucy Hill
November 21, 2017

The agreement, which is non-exclusive, is the next step in a partnership between Uber and Volvo Cars that began in August 2016, and marks a new chapter in the convergence of auto makers and Silicon Valley-based technology companies.

San Francisco - Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving Volvos once they're in production and add the vehicles to its ride-hailing fleet.

Jeff Miller, Uber's head of vehicle partnerships said: "In a self-driving world there is no human, so you need redundant steering and braking and actuation systems, such that if there is an electrical or mechanical failure, the back-up system can kick in".

Waymo announced its intentions to launch its own fleet of self-driving vehicles, which, just like Uber, would be controlled by an app, two weeks ago.

The news comes weeks after Waymo, Uber's key competitor, began testing driverless cars in Arizona with no back-up driver. "The more people working on the problem, we'll get there faster and with better, safer, more reliable systems". Uber has also made deals with Ford and Daimler.

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Volvo, which is on track for a fourth consecutive year of record sales, appears very pleased with the deal which helps pad their reputation in the world of automation, as well as their wallets. Volvo, on the other hand, can then use those cars as part of its own offering in the future.

Uber could work around rules governing workers' rights by running driverless cars.

"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson. "It's a new market that's emerging and we're the first to be delivering into that segment".

Meanwhile, Volvo is independently testing the waters of car-sharing with its new subscription service Care by Volvo which will be offered on the XC40 as well as the Polestar 1 coupé, the first vehicle from its new performance sub-brand.

Uber, which didn't put a time frame on when it might introduce driverless rides, said its approach means anyone in the industry can "deploy its tech".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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