Uber's massive Volvo order is a big self-driving step

Autonomous XC90

Volvo has signed a framework agreement with Uber on a three-year deal to sell it up to 24,000 cars that will become part of the ride-sharing giant's first robotaxi fleet. We'll see all of this happen within the new few years, too. Pilot projects around the US were temporarily halted after an early version of a Volvo-Uber-developed vehicle flipped on its side after an accident in Tempe, Arizona.

Uber is bolstering its driverless vehicle push in a major way.

Uber's head of auto alliances, Jeff Miller, said the deal "puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale".

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The nonbinding framework deal could offer San Francisco-based Uber a way to overcome setbacks at its autonomous driving division in Silicon Valley's race to ideal self-driving systems.

The statement said that "Volvo Cars' engineers have worked closely together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are to be supplied to Uber". One of the main reasons why Uber went with the Volvo XC90 SUV is because it features a core for autonomous driving technology that will allow Uber to add its own automation features on top of what's already offered, Volvo states.

This agreement is a continuation of a relationship between the two firms that began back in 2016 when Volvo began supplying Uber with vehicles to use for self-driving tech testing.

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A study release this month by the Boston Consulting Group estimated that by 2030 as much as 25% of the miles Americans clock on the road each year will be in driverless vehicles operated by ride-sharing services.

Uber would not share financial information about the project, and Volvo did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Miller said the company hasn't determined which cities the self-driving Volvos will operate in, but noted that the company's initial focus will likely be in the United States, where Uber has test fleets in San Francisco, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. "But we know that we want to be the platform that's at the centre of it, from a ridesharing standpoint".

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