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Uber Signing Deal to Own 24000 Autonomous Motor-Vehicles from Volvo

Uber Signing Deal to Own 24000 Autonomous Motor-Vehicles from Volvo

Self-driving vehicles are seen by many people as the obvious future for ride-sharing companies such as Uber, but moving to a driverless model may prove politically hard given that hundreds of thousands or possibly more than a million people drive for Uber on a regular or occasional basis in the US alone.

Uber is one of the many non-automotive businesses that is now involved in the development of autonomous technology together with tech giants such as Apple or Google - with the latter actually suing Uber over some intellectual theft. "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD (autonomous drive) ride-sharing service providers globally".

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

"With the advent of autonomous vehicle technology, rider attention may be focused on alternative activities, such as work, socialising, reading, writing, task-based activities and the like", Uber says in the patent.

Uber is working on a system to prevent travel sickness in cars, which it sees as a barrier to the adoption of self-driving vehicles, stopping people from doing other things as they are ferried to their destination.

While no terms were disclosed, the move is an extension of Uber's previous engineering collaboration with the Swedish carmaker that produced semi-autonomous XC90s on the streets of Pittsburgh.




The deal is based on an alliance Volvo announced with Uber a year ago when the two companies said they would collaborate on developing self-driving cars, pledging to invest a combined $300 million to the project.

Meanwhile, Jeff Miller, Head of Auto Alliances at Uber has said that the new agreement will allow the company to introduce self-driving vehicles on a large scale.

No financial details were revealed, which is notable given Uber is reportedly bleeding money.

"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of the company.

Paul Newton, director of consultancy firm HIS Automotive, was sceptical that laws would change in time for Uber and Volvo's 2019 partnership. Many younger consumers are ready to embrace autonomous vehicle features, but older consumers may need the reassurance that the Volvo brand provides to try out self-driving vehicles.


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