Volvo looks to supply Uber with up to 24000 self-driving cars

Uber orders whopping 24000 Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrids for fleet of driverless autos

The deal is an extension of an agreement that Uber made with Volvo almost two years ago, when the ride-hailing company started its research and development efforts in autonomous vehicles in earnest. The Wall Street Journal reported that such a deal could be worth an estimated $1 billion.

But the non-exclusive nature of the agreement means Volvo will continue developing its own autonomous systems, independent of Uber.

Without the cost of having to pay a driver, self-driving taxis are expected to cost significantly less than traditional taxi and Uber rides. That company has negotiated deals with several manufacturers, including General Motors and, more recently, Ford Motor Co., that will put some of their autonomous vehicles into fleet testing and eventual commercial application. Volvo must not of cared too much about that debacle, however, as Uber is now buying 24,000 XC90 SVUs from it to form new, large fleet of driverless vehicles. The retail price of an XC90 is somewhere around $50,000, on top of which Uber will have to supply the self-driving technology.

A Volvo statement said the framework for the deal calls for "tens of thousands" of XC90 coupes to be outfitted for autonomous driving in Sweden and sold to Uber.

Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider. The vehicles have all the safety, redundancy, and core autonomous drive technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving tech to for a complete autonomous auto.

The company is also testing the vehicle in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh along with a safety driver to help refine and improve their software.

The initiative has faced questions since Alphabet Inc.'s driverless vehicle division Waymo sued Uber this year, claiming the ride-hailing company stole trade secrets, and since the U.S. Justice Department opened an inquiry into the matter.

"We are open to deliver to more taxi companies", Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri.

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