Uber wants to purchase up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, showing the progress of their intentions to summon rides autonomously. The non-restricting structure arrangement could give Uber an approach to beat misfortunes at its autonomous driving division in Silicon Valley’s race to create self-driving cars. Consolidating Volvo’s auto-cars with Uber’s self-driving network expands on their three-year relationship, and comes as Uber’s self-driving unit was hit by claims over trade secrets and talent exits.
“This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of Auto Alliances, told Bloomberg News. “The more people working on the problem, we’ll get there faster and with better, safer, more reliable systems. Our goal was from day one to make investments into a vehicle that could be manufactured at scale.”
For carmakers, news of Uber purchasing vehicles at a business level means potential new deals, but it may disturb plans for automobiles that are sold to private dealerships. Uber’s $70 billion valuation puts them on par with Germany’s Daimler.
“It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove that vehicle operator from the equation,” Miller said.
“We get support developing this car,” Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in an interview. “It’s also a big commercial deal.”
Should Uber purchase every one of the 24,000 autos, it would be Volvo’s biggest request ever and the largest deal in the autonomous vehicle industry. It would grant Uber, which is losing more than $600 million a quarter, an armada of self-driving autos. The Volvo XC90 ordinarily retails at $50,000. Uber has been trying Volvo’s cars for over a year, with passengers to assess how the trips feel in Arizona and Pennsylvania. No budgets were revealed for the buy, which would stamp a change from Uber’s long-standing use of contractual drivers to purchase or rent and keep up their own autos.