Uber strikes deal with Volvo

Not a self-driving Volvo yesterday

The autonomous fleet is small compared with the more than 2 million people who drive for Uber but reflects a commitment to the company's strategy of developing self-driving cars.

Volvo and Uber have been working closely on the technology of the purpose-built XC90, which will be delivered in a way that Uber can easily mount its own self-driving tech on the vehicle roof. Previously, we've seen Uber test its self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs in Pittsburgh, and the company has already established a strong and strategic partnership with Volvo since August 2016. Uber also paired up with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous driving and a vehicle ready for self-driving implementation, with investment from both sides committed previous year.

Uber and Volvo have not disclosed financial terms, but have confirmed that the deal is "non-exclusive" - meaning both are free to form similar partnerships with others. "This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale", Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at Uber said in a statement. Uber then plans to add its own driverless technology and unleash a fleet of robo-taxis onto the world.

In addition to this, Volvo engineers have been closely working with Uber in order to manufacture a baseline vehicle with driverless technology built in its heart. Uber already uses Volvo's XC90 as the testbed for its self-driving system, which is now undergoing trials in Arizona and Pittsburgh. On top of all that, Uber is embroiled in a lawsuit with Google's Waymo, which accused it of stealing key self-driving tech.

Volvo's chief executive, HÃ¥kan Samuelsson, said: "The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption". But with the current status of Uber, it may not be expected for a while.

Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider. Uber's $70 billion valuation already puts the group nearly on a par with Germany's Daimler.

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