Uber announced today its plan to join forces with German auto giant Daimler on the deployment of self-driving cars. The cars, along with the autonomous technology, will be manufactured by Daimler before being introduced into Uber’s ride-hailing network, the companies say.
“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a blog post published Tuesday. “This became very clear to me after I visited an auto manufacturing plant and saw how much effort goes into designing, testing and building cars.”
This partnership is different from the Uber has with Volvo, in which the ride-hailing company and the Swedish automaker collaborated together on retrofitting a fleet of XC90 SUVs with Uber’s autonomous technology. These self-driving cars, most likely Mercedes-Benz sedans, will be owned and operated by Daimler, but used to pick up and drop off passengers on Uber’s network.
Rumors of Uber’s interest in Daimler’s self-driving cars cropped up early last year, when a German magazine reported that Uber had placed an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class series with Daimler, citing unnamed sources at both companies. That report was never verified, and the rumor seemed to die down soon after.
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SOURCE: The Verge, Andrew J . Hawkins