Uber is partnering up with Volvo to boost its self-driving efforts, buying ‘tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles from the Swedish automaker and plans to deploy them starting 2019 – 2020.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US$1 billion worth agreement marks a huge step forward for Uber, both for its autonomous programme and its overall operational strategy. Even though the company has been depending on drivers, the next few years will likely see a flood of Uber-owned driverless vehicles on the streets.
This new arrangement expands on a previous alliance between the two companies and even though Volvo won’t be providing fully developed self-driving cars to Uber, the vehicles will come standard with ‘core autonomous driving technologies’ and User plans to add its own sensors and software after delivery.
The Volvo fleet will give Uber its first opportunity to put its autonomous platform into vehicles at a massive scale, expanding beyond its initial trials. The ride-hailing company doesn’t have plans to manufacture on its own cars, so agreements like this will be essential to scaling up its self-driving operations beyond small regional pilot projects.