Uber, the ride-hailing giant has taken a huge step to ensure that we are not far away from seeing driverless cars on the roads. According to the latest news of Uber, the company has signed a deal to buy 24,000 autonomous vehicles from Volvo for its self-driving cars in the coming time. The deal was carried out on the basis of the agreement that Uber made with the automaker two years back when it started the research and development of its autonomous vehicle. Since then Uber has been working closely with Volvo to implement the autonomous driving technology to the XC90 vehicle of Volvo.
Although riders in some cities such as Pittsburgh can already grab a driverless taxi to travel, but not without a human operator inside the car. On this Uber said that they are working very aggressively on the project and expected to see first automatically driven car taxi on roads by 2019. The deal between the Volvo and Uber can be considered as the preparation for redefining the way of transformation with self-driving taxis in the coming time. Uber has already in talks with number municipal corporations of different U.S cities to allow the autonomous vehicle to run on the city roads.
“We’re moving aggressively,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances. “As soon as the technology is ready, there is a manufacturing machine that is ready to go, and we can push the ‘make car’ button, and we’ll have a clear path to having tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles on the road.”
Volvo, the Sweden based multinational manufacturing firm which is owned by a Chinese company mentioned that it is contributing $300 million to Uber for this project. Uber isn't alone that is working collaboratively with other giants for its driverless technology. The automaker's giants such as Ford and G.M. has spent millions for acquiring various software- startups to integrate the autonomous technology into their vehicle. Uber has already worked third-party firms for creating software and hardware for its autonomous vehicle and recently also opened a dedicated R&D center for the project. Along with this Uber has also partnered with the NASA recently for its flying taxis.
Dealing with a company that is working to bring the cars that are not owned by anyone and will reduce the number of drivers in the future it's an unusual situation for Volvo as an automaker. But on this Marten Levenstam, Volvo’s vice president for product strategy said “We think it's better to be part of the potentially disruptive change as opposed to standing on the sidelines and watching it happen. This will be a major change for the whole auto industry.”
The latest move from Uber made the drivers across its service to think that might be their job is in jeopardy in the coming time. However, the company has a different approach for this action, “We have millions of drivers that operate on our platform every day around the world and 24,000 Volvos would be a fraction of the Uber vehicles on the road. There will always be a role for human-driven vehicles. You’re going to see a hybrid fleet of human- and robot-driven vehicles.” said Miller.