Uber just ordered 24000 self-driving cars from Volvo

Uber just ordered 24000 self-driving cars from Volvo

Uber has reached an agreement with Volvo to purchase a fleet of driverless cars as the ridesharing firm seeks to deploy autonomous vehicle technology.

Waymo is running its own self-driving pilot program in Phoenix using Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids, and it recently announced plans to buy hundreds more as it begins real-world testing of fully driverless minivans as part of the ride-sharing service. It would be the first of its kind.

"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology, and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars.

The deal builds on a non-exclusive agreement signed back in 2016 by Uber and Volvo, which is expected to release its first self-driving vehicle in 2021.

Monday's agreement represents one of the most concrete deals between two big players in the field for the production of a large number of real cars, which is making other auto manufacturers race to develop their own models of self-driving vehicles.

Neither Volvo nor Uber released financial details, but based on list prices for the cars the deal could be worth more than $1 billion (around 850 million euros).

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Bloomberg said the deal involved 24,000 XC90s and that Uber's order boosts efforts to replace human drivers, the biggest cost in its on-demand taxi service.

She said the new agreement puts Uber on the path toward rolling out mass-produced autonomous cars at scale.

Uber's Advanced Technologies Group is in charge of developing the driverless system, which will be incorporated into the vehicles between 2019 and 2021, Volvo confirmed.

The tests are being conducted in Tempe, Arizona, and Pittsburgh. "It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove the vehicle operator from the equation", Miller told Reuters.

But the status of the project was unclear after Waymo sued Uber this year, claiming the ride-hailing company stole trade secrets, and the U.S. Justice Department opened an inquiry into the matter.

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