Uber orders up to 24,000 Volvo SUVs for its self-driving fleet

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Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider. It announced that it will buy up to 24, 000 Volvo XC90s, marking the first major vehicle fleet purchase by a ride-hailing service. Uber will take delivery of the SUVs between 2019 and 2021, then equip them with its own sensors and tech, allowing it to do fully autonomous, driver-free passenger rides . “This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale, ” Uber’s Jeff Miller told Bloomberg . The XC90 starts at $47, 000, so this could be a pretty substantial purchase — over $1 billion worth of cars, to be exact. Uber and Volvo previously signed a $300 million pact, and Volvo, based in Sweden but owned by China’s Geely Auto , is using the proceeds to develop its own driverless cars. It has been working with Uber for nearly three years to develop a base vehicle with core autonomous tech, which the ride-sharing company could then customize as it sees fit. Uber has also made deals with Ford and Daimler. Uber aims to eventually give driver-free passenger rides, which is the only way such a service would be economically feasible. “It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove the vehicle operator from the equation, ” Miller told Reuters . However, Uber and everyone else are still far from that goal. Uber has been offering autonomous car rides in Ford Fusion and other vehicles for over a year in Pittsburgh. However, earlier this year, it admitted that human drivers had to take the wheel at least once every mile . City dwellers are also reportedly tired of the tests, as they haven’t provided the promised jobs and other benefits. On top of all that, Uber is embroiled in a lawsuit with Google’s Waymo, which accused it of stealing key self-driving tech. Source: Bloomberg

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Uber orders up to 24,000 Volvo SUVs for its self-driving fleet

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