Uber announces to buy 24,000 self-driving vehicles from carmaker ‘Volvo’ between 2019 and 2021.
The San Francisco based ride-sharing company entered an agreement with its three-year self-driving Partner Volvo to purchase 24,000 XC90 SUVs and to own a fleet of autonomous cars.
The Financial Times reported that the deal is to be worth around $1.4 billion with the XC90 having a starting price of $46,900 in the U.S. in terms of the base model consumer pricing.
It is so far Volvo’s largest order and the biggest sale in the autonomous vehicle industry.The XC90 is already the base of Uber’s self-driving test car that is testing in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh. The cars are equipped with sensors and autonomous driving computing capability along with a safety driver in the front seat that could take over in case of an emergency.
The new fleet of XC90s will be a step ahead of the already existing autonomous cars, with advanced braking and steering technologies that will not require a human safety driver.
Volvo would provide the cars while Uber will install the self-driving technology that is yet to be built by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
“Our goal was from day one to make investments into a vehicle that could be manufactured at scale,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances.
“It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove that vehicle operator from the equation.” says Uber.
Depending on Uber’s needs, the model of the vehicle can correspondingly change. As part of the deal, Uber has the right to order vehicles from other OEMs to help contribute to its fleet.
Google’s sibling company Waymo has been testing its driverless minivans in Arizona since last month. The company announced that it will soon launch the autonomous ride-hailing service for customer use. Analysts believe that Waymo’s announcement might have fueled Uber to accelerate its own plans.
No exact date has been released by both the company for when the rides will be publicly available. However, Waymo did reveal that the service will be available within the next few months.
An Uber spokesperson revealed that 24,000 is not the confirmed number of cars but just a general estimate.