Uber Teams With Volvo
Ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc. will buy “tens of thousands” of self-driving capable Volvo XC90 SUVs from the Swedish-based luxury carmaker as part of an expanded partnership between the two companies.
Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo will supply Uber with autonomous-driving capable vehicles as part of a new, non-exclusive agreement. Uber confirmed it will buy up to 24,000 self-driving vehicles from Volvo as part of the deal with value worth more than $1 billion. The companies did not disclose financials related to the deal. A Volvo XC90 currently begins at about $47,000 in the U.S.
The new Volvo-Uber pact signals the growing link and likely necessary relationships between automakers and tech companies in the rapid push toward developing and launching fully self-driving vehicles.
“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
The two companies announced in August 2016 that they were working to develop self-driving cars and that Uber planned to buy cars from Volvo. At that time, the companies said they were spending $300 million on the joint project. It’s not clear when Uber may introduce a fully autonomous car for its popular ride-hailing/sharing service, but it marks a milestone for the company in owning a fleet of vehicles.
“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances, said in a statement.
Volvo engineers worked with Uber engineers to design and develop the XC90 SUVs, which are outfitted with required safety, redundancy and core self-driving technologies. San Francisco-based Uber will add its own self-driving technology on the XC90s. Meanwhile, Volvo continues to work on its own autonomous vehicle strategy and plans to launch its first fully self-driving car in 2021.