Uber orders 24000 Volvo XC90s for driverless fleet

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Sarah Abboud, an Uber spokeswoman, said the Volvo prototype vehicles were not built for scale manufacturing or true autonomy - the step that removes a driver from the auto completely.

A confirmed report from an Uber spokesperson says that the company has just ordered around 24,000 Volvo XC90 SUVs for its line of the driverless fleet.

Under their pre-existing agreement, Uber already uses various customised Volvo vehicles - which include some of the carmaker's own self-drive hardware - and then adds on its own proprietary artificial intelligence technologies. It would be the first of its kind.

Volvo Cars Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said, "We believe this is a new segment, a new business".

The deal marks a milestone step in the United States firm's transition from an app used to summon a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of cars.

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

The deal builds on a $300 million alliance Volvo announced with Uber previous year focused on collaborating on the design and financing of cars with self-driving systems, which require different steering and braking features and sensors. The non-exclusive and non-binding deal would take things a giant step forward and allow Uber to launch autonomous operations on a commercial level starting in 2019.

She said the new agreement puts Uber on the path toward rolling out mass-produced autonomous cars at scale.

The tests are being conducted in Tempe, Arizona, and Pittsburgh.

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. "Uber will adapt the software to make it ride-hailing". Among those that have agreed to test autonomous vehicles on Lyft's platform are Delphi Automotive Plc's NuTonomy, Ford Motor Co., Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo.