undergroundnewsroom.com December 18, 2017

Uber to buy thousands of Volvo cars for self-driving flee

21 November 2017, 01:13 | Gordon Grant

Volvo to Supply Uber With Autonomous Driving Cars Send to a friend

Volvo to Supply Uber With Autonomous Driving Cars

The deal marks a milestone step in the U.S. firm's transition from an app used to summon a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of cars.

Bloomberg reported the figure at 24,000 vehicles, to be delivered between 2019 and 2021.

The vehicles will also provide the foundation on which Volvo will develop its own autonomous cars strategy, which is set to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous cars in 2021.

Despite an ongoing lawsuit with Alphabet's GOOGL Waymo and the departure of one of its senior autonomous driving engineers earlier this year, Uber has made a huge step forward in its own quest to create a self-driving vehicle future.

"It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove that vehicle operator from the equation", Jeff Miller, Uber's head of automotive alliances, told Reuters.

The deal between Volvo, owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., and Uber is a framework agreement without financial terms.

At present, tests are limited to Tempe, Arizona and Pittsburgh.

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Volvo said the vehicles "incorporate all the necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology".

And you never know; if the Uber you "hail" doesn't have a driver, it may actually turn up exactly where you want it to.

Uber's Volvo deal is a reminder that it's far and away the biggest player in the ride hailing industry.

The initiative has faced questions since Alphabet Inc.'s driverless auto division Waymo sued Uber this year, claiming the ride-hailing company stole trade secrets, and since the U.S. Justice Department opened an inquiry into the matter.

The announcement comes shortly before Uber prepares to face accusations its driverless tech was based on ideas developed by Google in court next month.

Thanks to that other partnership, Uber was able to roll out Volvo-branded, self-driving vehicles on the road in California a year ago, but they weren't permitted vehicles, and so Uber had to publicly go back and forth with the US Department of Motor Vehicles over the issue.

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