Volvo to deliver thousands of autonomous vehicles to Uber

Ivan Schwartz
November 21, 2017

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.' It highlighted people using hand signals and eye contact to negotiate traffic as one of the major challenges remaining for autonomous autos.

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 vehicle makers and Silicon Valley-based technology companies. Should the world's highest-valued - and severely lossmaking - startup commit fully to the framework agreement, it would also be Volvo's biggest-ever deal, and account for 4,5% of the group's total sales, according to Wall Street Journal. All told, the deal could cost over $1 billion, which is a lot of cash to burn, even by Uber's standards.

UBER yesterday revealed plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo.

Uber wasn't immediately available to comment, and Volvo deferred questions to Uber. Uber already uses Volvo's XC90 as the testbed for its self-driving system, which is now undergoing trials in Arizona and Pittsburgh. An expansion to parts of California ran into trouble when state regulators dinged the test vehicles for not having the proper permits.

Volvo to deliver thousands of autonomous vehicles to Uber

The non-exclusive agreement will see Volvo sell thousands of "base vehicles" to Uber between 2019 and 2021, as the latter gears up to offer "mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale". Uber also paints the right to order vehicles from other OEMs to help contribute to its fleet as part of the deal. Automakers like Tesla, Ford and GM are also toying with autonomous cars and ride services.

"Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally".

But the move reflects the company's commitment to developing self-driving technology, Bloomberg said. Uber has said it didn't use stolen information.

That case is set to go to trial in December.

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