Uber Makes First Big Move to Put Driverless Cars on the Road – Orders 24,000 Volvos

Ridester has learned that Uber has entered into an agreement to purchase 24,000 Volvo XC90s between 2019 and 2021.  The deal is estimated at $1.4 billion which represents a premium on the XC90.  The base retail price is $46,900, but with this deal, Uber will be paying around $58,000 per vehicle.

According to Bloomberg News Uber and Volvo have partnered to develop an implementation of the XC90 that will have core driverless technologies built-in that Uber can later expand upon and extend.

This surprise announcement by Uber and Volvo was apparently fueled by competition with Alphabet’s Waymo – the driverless car unit of Google.  Just a couple of weeks ago both companies said they couldn’t give a timeline as to when their driverless cars would hit the road.  But, with 24,000 driverless Volvos on the way to Uber, it looks like that timeline is now a little clearer.  It will begin to happen between 2019 and 2021.

“This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances, told the media.  “The more people working on the problem, we’ll get there faster and with better, safer, more reliable systems.”

What Does This Mean for Drivers?

  • For one, it means Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is solidly committed to driverless cars;
  • Uber will introduce driverless cars in style by going with a vehicle that now qualifies under its luxury line, Uber Black. Although it remains to be seen which of their platforms they’ll make this car available under;
  • It also means that as early as 2019, Uber will have thousands of company-owned driverless cars on the road;
  • But, don’t go anywhere yet! Uber will still need its several million drivers for a while.  Its order of 24,000 cars represents a drop in the bucket compared to the 2 million cars Uber has on the roads in the U.S. alone.  It represents just 1.2% of Uber’s total number of U.S. drivers;
  • Keep your ratings up. When Uber does eventually begin to replace drivers with self-driving vehicles, it will no doubt purge the lowest-rated drivers first.

Check out Ridester’s free training course and get great tips on how to get and keep your ratings high.  It’s just another way Ridester supports drivers.