Automotive

Uber opens its ride-sharing network to self-driving Daimlers

Uber opens its ride-sharing ne...
Daimler's Mercedes E-Class vehicles were the first production cars to be approved for autonomous testing on Nevada's public roads
Daimler's Mercedes E-Class vehicles were the first production cars to be approved for autonomous testing on Nevada's public roads
View 2 Images
Self-driving versions of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz E-class may soon appear on Uber's ride-sharing network
1/2
Self-driving versions of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz E-class may soon appear on Uber's ride-sharing network
Daimler's Mercedes E-Class vehicles were the first production cars to be approved for autonomous testing on Nevada's public roads
2/2
Daimler's Mercedes E-Class vehicles were the first production cars to be approved for autonomous testing on Nevada's public roads

Both Daimler and Uber have been pretty active in the autonomous vehicle space, each conducting trials of their self-driving tech. The pair has now joined forces with the aim of speeding things up, with Daimler to deploy its autonomous vehicles on Uber's ride-sharing network in the relatively near future.

Uber has been making waves in the autonomous vehicle arena (just ask California's DMV who banned one of its trials in December), but an automobile manufacturer it is not. CEO Travis Kalanick conceded as much today in a blog post explaining the motivation behind the new partnership. The company has instead relied on modified Volvo XC90s and subsidiary Otto's self-driving trucks to put its autonomous tech to the test.

Daimler, on the other hand, has been in the car-building game for more than a century, and has also shown eagerness to move with the times. Its Mercedes-Benz trucks have been used in a number of self-driving trials, while its Mercedes E-Class vehicles were the first production cars to be approved for autonomous testing on Nevada's public roads.

So in joining forces, the pair hope to combine Uber's ride-sharing expertise with Daimler's manufacturing know-how. But rather than the auto-manufacturer handing the keys over to Uber, as Volvo did, it will instead operate the vehicles itself, pointing to a future where autonomous vehicle makers can deploy their machines on an already established global ride-sharing network, rather than having to build one up themselves.

The announcement is a little vague on when we can expect to see Daimler vehicles roll out onto Uber's network, saying only that it will happen "in the coming years."

Source: Daimler

3 comments
zr2s10
I'm curious to see what this means for Uber's own autonomous driving tech. They have a lot of time and money invested in it. But it's not like they sell their own cars. Once Ford/Mercedes/etc have their own production cars with it, why would Uber buy cars without it, then spend the money to kit it out with their own stuff? My best guess is that they will sell what they have developed to an actual auto manufacturer, or offer retrofit kits for "older" cars that can support the tech.
VincentWolf
So what's being done to accomodate deaf riders heh? I bet not a damn thing. So a world of fully autonomous cars will NEVER happen without discriminating against the deaf and leaving them stranded forever just like they have done with the Internet and online video which is closed captioned only 1% of the time.
zr2s10
VincentWolf, I'm kind of lost. How does this discriminate against the deaf? Or not accomodate? I am not deaf, so maybe I'm just missing something. But I would imagine that it would be easier than hailing a cab. You can have all of your destination, payment, etc, all entered into the app, before you even get into the car. No audio cues needed, I would imagine. Perhaps feedback to Uber through their app, that they should have a place to note special accomodations. Something that would let a driver know (for regular Uber), that the client is deaf (once the pickup is accepted only, to prevent discrimination), so that there is no misunderstanding.