SELF-DRIVING UBERS A STEP CLOSER

Uber, partnering with German auto maker Daimler, has moved a step closer to its goal of having a self-driving fleet.

Daimler will build autonomous vehicles in-house, without help from Uber, however the cars will be built specifically for use on the ride-hailing company’s network.

“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars – and, in fact, making cars is really hard,” Travis Kalanick, Uber’s Chief Executive, said in a statement.

“We can combine Uber’s global ride-sharing network with the world-class vehicles of companies like Daimler, so that Uber riders can have a great experience getting around their cities.”

The relationship will not be exclusive, with Daimler free to make autonomous cars for Uber’s competitors and Uber able to ‘open-source’ autonomous vehicles from any other manufacturer. Nonetheless the two companies expect Daimler’s self-driving vehicles to be operating on Uber’s network “in the coming years”.

“Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving,” Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s Chairman, said in a statement. “Together with Uber, we seek to combine our strengths.”

Uber has previously worked with Volvo to produce the XC90m a self-driving SUV currently undergoing testing near Uber’s autonomous research facility in Pittsburgh.

It has also modified Ford Fusion vehicles, fitting them with cameras and sensors to provide self-driving capabilities.

Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, has likewise partnered with General Motors to produce autonomous vehicles, while Google has matched with Fiat Chrysler to seek the same goal.

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