Uber will buy up to 24,000 XC90 SVUs from Volvo to form a fleet of driverless vehicles, reports Bloomberg. The XC90s, which start at $45,750, will be delivered between 2019 and 2021. The base vehicles feature core autonomous driving technologies that will enable Uber to add its own automation features as well, Volvo says. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at Uber said in a statement.
Volvo said engineers from both companies developed the XC90 premium SUVs supplied to Uber. Uber has been spotted testing its self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs before in Pittsburgh, and the company has had a strategic partnership with Volvo since August 2016. Uber also has a small fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions.
Volvo is also planning to release it own first fully autonomous car in 2021, and will also use the same base model vehicle in development. “The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo in a statement. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally.”
Uber has suffered through a number of issues in developing its automated cars. The company’s self-driving cars in Arizona got into a pretty serious crash in March this year. The company also launched a self-driving Uber service in San Francisco in December 2016, but that got yanked shortly after because the company failed to properly register its fleet of 16 vehicles. Emails showed that Uber dismissed warnings about that self-driving test for months. To add more pain, Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, is suing Uber for allegedly stealing the underlying technology for its vehicles, and that case is about to head to trial. Waymo also became the first company to put a fully self-driving vehicle on US roads without a safety driver earlier this month, pipping Uber to the post.