Volvo and ride-sharing giant Uber have announced plans to join forces in the area of autonomous driving technology.
Similar to the deal between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] and Google, Volvo will supply Uber with cars fitted with autonomous driving systems for development and testing. Previously, Uber had sourced vehicles from Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F]. The Blue Oval on Tuesday said it was developing its own autonomous driving technology.
Volvo and Uber will continue to separately develop autonomous driving technology, though engineers from both firms will work in close collaboration. In fact, Volvo and Uber claim the new deal, valued at approximately $300 million, is just the beginning of a longer term industrial partnership.
“Over one million people die in car accidents every year,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement. “These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve but we can’t do this alone.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Uber announced in May that it had received investment from Toyota. And at a June press conference in Germany, Kalanick said more automotive partnerships were needed to help speed up development of autonomous driving technology. Uber’s goal is to have fleets of self-driving cars all over the globe. The company, however, does not plan to build its own cars.
Just go to a German manufacturing facility, “and you will very quickly realize you do not want to make cars,” Kalanick said at the conference.
Uber is conducting most of its testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to Bloomberg, Uber is so advanced in the field that it will start allowing customers to hail one of its self-driving test cars for a ride as early as this month. The rides will be limited to the downtown Pittsburgh area and for now one of Uber’s engineers will be behind the wheel to supervise.
Like most companies developing autonomous driving technology, Uber is relying on a combination of cameras, sensors and highly-detailed maps to enable its self-driving cars to navigate the world. Some of the other major firms looking to get into the autonomous ride-sharing business include the likes of Apple, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), FCA, Ford, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM], Google and the Volkswagen Group.