Uber makes a deal of 24000 Volvo XC90S for the driverless fleet

Volvo and Uber expand tie-up in race to dominate self-driving cars

The company just made a deal with Volvo for as many as 24,000 XC90 sport utility vehicles to be delivered between 2019 and 2021.

Uber has struck a deal to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo.

"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

But the non-exclusive nature of the agreement means Volvo will continue developing its own autonomous systems, independent of Uber.

The XC90 SUVs are to be "base" vehicles, which incorporate a degree of autonomous capability but which are created to have Uber's proprietary driverless tech added on top.

Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Waymo, left the company in January 2016 to found self-driving start-up Otto, which Uber swiftly purchased in July previous year for $700m (£558m).

Uber partnerships chief Jeff Miller added: "This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale". Volvo told Reuters it would sell the XC90s to Uber at roughly the same profit margin it sells through dealers, suggesting Uber's total purchase could top $1 billion.

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Under their pre-existing agreement, Uber already uses various customised Volvo vehicles - which include some of the carmaker's own self-drive hardware - and then adds on its own proprietary artificial intelligence technologies.

Human drivers are the biggest cost in Uber's service, according to Bloomberg.

Uber first tested its driverless taxi service in Pittsburgh, and it also tests cars in Arizona.

But 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".

How long do you think it will be before autonomous vehicle make driving redundant?

Lyft Inc., the main ride-hailing alternative in the USA, has said it's also building driverless cars but has mainly focused on partnerships.

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