Volvo and Uber have signed a deal that will see the ride-sharing company buy up to 24,000 self-driving examples of the Swedish manufacturer’s XC90 SUV.
The agreement builds on an existing $300 million relationship between the two companies: For more than a year, Uber has been testing its self-driving technology in Volvo vehicles as it looks to a future where autonomous vehicles “could be manufactured at scale,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances.
For both Uber and Volvo, the non-exclusive deal could be a way in to a business model experts say could be a big thing. It includes up to 24,000 cars to be delivered between 2019 and 2021 and would give Uber its first fleet of commercial vehicles.
While vehicles being tested by the two companies in Tempe and Pittsburgh have a driver in the front seat as a failsafe, the idea is that, eventually, the car that responds to your ride request through the Uber app would come to you autonomously.
No financial details were revealed, which is notable given Uber is reportedly bleeding money.
Unsurprisingly, Uber isn’t the only ride-hailing company working hard to bring autonomous vehicles to public roads. One of its key rivals is Lyft, which is working with Ford and Waymo to add self-driving cars to its fleet.
No doubt the Uber deal is an attractive one for Volvo: the Chinese-owned company is in the midst of a comeback that will likely see it set a sales record for the fourth straight year in 2017.
(via The Financial Post)