Automotive

Game on! Uber to buy over 20,000 autonomous-capable SUVs from Volvo

A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
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Håkan Samuelsson - President & CEO, Volvo Car Group
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Håkan Samuelsson - President & CEO, Volvo Car Group
A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
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A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
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A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
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A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years

Uber recently announced it will be buying as estimated 24,000 premium SUVs from Volvo between 2019 and 2021. In a plan set to dramatically disrupt the world's automotive market, Uber will fit the SUVs with its own autonomous driving technology and then set them out onto the road.

Uber engineers have been working with a team at Volvo to design a base model SUV that will be appropriate to refit with Uber's own self-driving technology. These initial vehicles will be modeled on Volvo's XC90 premium SUVs.

Volvo is cleverly positioning itself for the oncoming disruption in the automotive market with president and chief executive Håkan Samuelsson saying, "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today's agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction."

A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years
A look at the Uber Volvo that could be traveling around our streets in a few years

The deal is estimated to be costing Uber one billion dollars, and while the company has not set a specific date for when it could roll out these self-driving cars, it isn't beyond the realm of possibility to imagine we could see them on the streets by 2022.

This will be a major disruption once it is deployed. The day Uber, or anyone else, presses play on a large-scale fleet of on-demand, self-driving taxis is the day the world permanently changes. The entire ownership model of cars will shift as scores of autonomous electric vehicles roam the streets ready to transport passengers, potentially at just a fraction of the cost of a taxi or Uber ride today.

Source: Volvo

5 comments
ajl12no
Electric, I hope/presume...
JimFox
"autonomous electric vehicles"
Phileaux
Where will they park when not needed? Who’s in charge of maintenance? As a Lyft driver I can see that this is not the money saver Uber thinks it will be.
EH
Owning and operating a self-driving car fleet will cost Uber far more than its current system of having low-paid drivers shoulder all the financing, depreciation, security, liability, basic insurance, fuel, maintenance and cleaning as well as paying for all those necessary miles positioning vehicles and going to pick up customers. Uber is completely insane to think they can do all that for less than the ~$5.40 per hour + $0.68/mile they currently pay ONLY WHILE ACTUALLY CARRYING PASSENGERS in my large US city. They'll have easily $1,500 per month per vehicle costs, not counting all the fleet centers they'll have to build, which could easily run into the gigabucks. Not to mention that they have absolutely no capability in software, as shown by the problems not only in Uber's navigation app, which has serious errors on MOST trips but also terrible design even in the interface of their basic software for keeping track of who to drop off where and for contacting riders before pickup, really easy stuff that they messed up in unimaginably idiotic ways. Uber will never be able to program something that can replace drivers in the kinds of situations that usually happen in the course of half a day, let alone do so for less money than they pay drivers now.
MK23666
Rising fuel economy standards are killing the auto industry ... Electric cars will never replace ICE cars, they just can't compete ... Self driving cars are the stuff of science fiction, it will never be allowed ... Uber won't make/save any money doing this ... "O ye of little faith." "The future is nigh."