Why Uber Just Agreed to Buy a Buttload of Volvos


Uber would then have the ability to augment the technology as per its needs.

To get the tech up to speed, Volvo and Uber are now putting a fleet of modified XC90 SUVs (seen above and below) to work.

The tests are being conducted in Tempe, Arizona, and Pittsburgh.

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

Uber aims to eventually give driver-free passenger rides, which is the only way such a service would be economically feasible. The potentially massive new investment would change Uber's way of doing business, and make it less reliant on a fleet of contractors.

As Miller indicated to FT, there's a lot of variability built into the contract between Volvo and Uber, where 24,000 is an intial order and a "best guess".

2017 Volvo XC90
Uber plans to purchase 24000 Volvo SUVs in race for self-driving future

Lyft, the main ride-hailing alternative in the USA, has said it's also building driverless cars but has mainly focused on partnerships. The primary center of operation would be in dense urban areas, with the financial advantage falling off in less densely populated areas.

Uber has been testing prototype Volvo cars for more than a year - with safety drivers in the front seat to intervene if the system fails.

Uber will add its own sensor array to the roof of the cars and operate them. The deal is expected to be in between the year 2019 and year 2021 as reported by Bloomberg News. "But we know that we want to be the platform that's at the center of it, from a ride-sharing standpoint", he proclaimed. But Uber has run into a potential roadblock. The company is being sued by Alphabet's Waymo, which claims Uber used information stolen by a former Waymo employee. The two companies previously formed a partnership in 2016.

"The issue is that we don't have any legislation in any city of the world that would remotely allow this sort of thing to happen at the moment", said Paul Newton, director at the consultancy IHS Automotive, about the idea of a totally driverless taxi service. So is Uber's chief rival, Lyft.

The nonbinding framework deal could offer San Francisco-based Uber a way to overcome setbacks at its autonomous driving division in Silicon Valley's race to ideal self-driving systems.

Waymo launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

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