Uber plans to buy 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo

Uber plans to buy 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo
Uber plans to buy 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo

Uber plans to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, creating its own fleet of driverless vehicles.

The Swedish automaker confirmed it had entered into an agreement to supply Uber with up to 24,000 of its flagship XC90 SUVs cars, complete with autonomous technology.

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.

This undated handout picture provided by Swedish carmaker Volvo shows a Volvo XC90 Drive Me, a so-called autonomous driving (AD) car. Swedish carmaker Volvo on April 27, 2016 announced it would give self-driving cars to ordinary Britons to test on the streets of London in 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /VOLVO / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images
The Volvo XC90 self-driving car costs around $50,000 (Photo: Getty)

As the deal is non-exclusive, Uber reserves the right to strike deals with other car makers. The company has been working with Volvo for more than a year in Tempe, Arizona and Pittsburgh in the US.

“Our goal was from day one to make investments into a vehicle that could be manufactured at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances, said.

“It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove that vehicle operator from the equation.”

Driverless cars: the arguments for and against

The announcement comes shortly before Uber prepares to face accusations its driverless tech was based on ideas developed by Google in court next month.

Waymo, the driverless car arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, sued Uber in February for allegedly stealing technology essential for helping automated vehicles avoiding obstacles.

Waymo announced its intentions to launch its own fleet of self-driving vehicles, which, just like Uber, would be controlled by an app, two weeks ago.

Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Waymo, left the company in January 2016 to found self-driving start-up Otto, which Uber swiftly purchased in July last year for $700m (£558m).

Waymo claimed Mr Levandowski downloaded 14,000 “highly confidential and proprietary design files” onto an external hard drive prior to his leaving Waymo as part of a “concerted plan to steal Waymo’s trade secrets and intellectual property.”

The trial has already been postponed once, and is due to begin fully in December.

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