Volvo signs agreement to supply Uber with 24000 self-driving vehicles

Uber's Volvo XC90 self driving car is shown during a demonstration of self-driving automotive technology in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Image The Volvo XC90 shown during a demonstration in Pittsburgh last year

The non-exclusive deal is one of the largest commercial orders for self-driving cars yet, building on a $300 million partnership Uber and Volvo struck in August 2016. The base vehicles "incorporate all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology", the statement said.

The deal is based on an alliance Volvo announced with Uber past year when the two companies said they would collaborate on developing self-driving cars, pledging to invest a combined $300 million to the project.

But the new deal vastly increases the number of Volvo driverless cars that Uber can work with, showing the scope of its ambitions.

Volvo has had a long-running partnership with Uber to develop self-driving cars, though it hit a setback earlier this year.

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"This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale".

Uber has already been experimenting with driverless technology in the United States, but this massive investment in hardware represents a big change in direction and the first such purchase by a ride-hailing provider. Uber already has a deal in place to get some vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. Uber has been offering autonomous auto rides in Ford Fusion and other vehicles for over a year in Pittsburgh.

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

Without the cost of having to pay a driver, self-driving taxis are expected to cost significantly less than traditional taxi and Uber rides.

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Competitor Waymo recently announced plans to begin its own autonomous ride-hailing service, which may be the reason for Uber accelerating its plans, Tech Crunch reported.

In a self-driving world, the Uber app could be used to summon unmanned Volvo's to pick up passengers.

In addition, in February 2017, the company Uber has signed a long-term cooperation agreement with the automotive group Daimler.

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