Uber has already demonstrated its self-driving car technology many times and it’s now ramping up its efforts to create its very own driverless car fleet. It has inked an agreement with Sweden’s Volvo to purchase 24,000 XC90 sport utility vehicles which will form its fleet of self-driving cars. The Volvo XC90 is already the base of Uber’s current self-driving test car. It has retrofitted the test cars with sensors and autonomous driving hardware to enable them to drive on their own.
The company is currently using 100 XC90 SUVs for testing its self-driving car technology in Pittsburgh, Arizona, and San Francisco.
Bloomberg reports that Uber is going to buy these vehicles from Volvo between 2019 and 2021. This is the first commercial purchase of this size by a ride-hailing service.
Volvo isn’t going to do anything on the self-driving front. Uber will be adding its own sensors and software to these cars so that they can drive themselves.
The new XC90s that Uber is sourcing from Volvo will be more advanced in their self-driving abilities compared to the existing test cars. They will have redundant systems for steering and braking so that they can operate even when there’s no human safety driver behind the wheel.
This goes to show that Uber is well on its way to roll out its own self-driving ride-hailing service. This would enable the company to reduce driver costs on its platforms as it eventually shifts more markets to cars that can drive themselves. It’s going to take a few years but it’s clear that this is now the intention.