Uber is making a significant investment into the driverless vehicles. According to a report from Bloomberg, Uber will be buying 24,000 XC90 SUV’s from Volvo to create its own fleet of driverless vehicles. These vehicles are expected to be delivered between 2019 and 2021. One of the main reasons why Uber went with the Volvo XC90 SUV is because it features a core for autonomous driving technology that will allow Uber to add its own automation features on top of what’s already offered, Volvo states.
Jeff Miller, head of auto alliance at Uber said in a statement that “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
Volvo added that engineers from both companies developed the XC90 premium SUVs that are supplied to Uber. Previously, we’ve seen Uber test its self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs in Pittsburgh, and the company has already established a strong and strategic partnership with Volvo since August 2016. In addition to Volvo, Uber already has a small fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions.
While working with Uber has been a great learning experience for Volvo, the company is also planning to release its own first fully autonomous car in 2021, and will use the same base model vehicle in development. “The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo in a statement. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally.”
Uber establishing an even stronger relationship with Volvo is a good sign. The company has already suffered several setbacks in different areas, more specifically through a number of issues in developing its automated cars. Uber previously launched a self-driving Uber service in San Francisco in December 2016 but was pulled shortly after because the company failed to properly register the 16 vehicles. On top of all that, Uber is currently being sued by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, for allegedly stealing the underlying technology for its vehicles, and this case is about to go to trial soon. Uber and its investors have been itching for some good news and it appears that this partnership with Volvo is a great signs for its future. Uber has also been in talks with SoftBank for a potential $10 billion investment, so this makes Uber’s future look strong for the investment.