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Uber bets a billion dollars on the driverless car fleet

The ride-sharing giant agreed with Volvo a supply of 24,000 XC90 Suv, equipped with driverless car technology developed by Uber. The Company won't stand with cab drivers
Donatella Cambosu

At the end of last August in Pennsylvania the first fleet of driverless cars born from the Uber-Volvo alliance began to be tested. The alliance between Uber and Volvo, born some years ago, is worth 300 million dollars of investment in R & D, which must have paid off if, as announced by the two companies, the Swedish manufacturer will provide the unicorn transportation company up to 24 thousand vehicles between 2019 and 2021. The cost of these cars is about 50 thousand dollars each, which multiplied by 24 thousand leads to a cost of 1.2 billion dollars. “The automotive industry is completely revolutionized by technology and Volvo Cars decided to get an active role in this disruption. We want to become the global preferred supplier for ride-sharing service providers with driverless cars. Today's agreement with Uber is a first example of that strategic direction” Håkan Samuelsson president and CEO of Volvo said.

The agreement will not be binding on Uber and could be a way to overcome setbacks in its race towards driverless systems, suffered also following the acquisition of the Otto, a startup developing a sophisticated technology for big driverless vehicles such as trucks, bringing to the company several legal issues.

The driverless system that would be used in Volvo cars is being developed by the Uber Advanced Technologies group. If Uber acquired all the 24,000 cars mentioned, it would by far be the largest order ever received by Volvo and the biggest sale in the driverless industry to date, and would allow Uber, with quite a few economic problems with its more than $ 600 million a quarter losses, to realize its first commercial fleet of vehicles. Avoiding problems with taxi drivers.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Volvo. This new agreement is a step forward to large-scale driverless cars.”, Jeff Miller, Director of Auto Alliance Uber said.


24 November 2017

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